Aliens could be watching us from 29 different planets, scientists say

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Artist’s impression of an alien planet orbiting a star far, far away (Shutterstock)

Mankind has spent a lot of time looking for signs of alien life, but less time has been spent wondering if alien life might be looking for us – until now.

New York astronomers have narrowed the list of places where aliens could observe us to just 29 potential planets.

These planets were selected from a potential of 1,715 star systems in our Milky Way pass, where an extraterrestrial civilization could have seen the Earth cross the face of the Sun – the most common tool for discovering other planets.

This shortlist was then narrowed down even further to those who are close enough to intercept radio and television signals since we started broadcasting them about 100 years ago.

Planets that were in the right position to both measure our existence and intercept our signals have turned out to be quite a few – given that we haven’t found any evidence of extraterrestrial life so far, it seems unlikely. that these 29 planets could observe us. .

But ufologists and alien observers will point out that we have only visited a handful of planets in our own solar system – if one of these civilizations had not yet developed communication tools, they might be able to to watch us.

There’s also the question of whether we’ve been visited by extraterrestrials before – something the much-anticipated US Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force report seeks to shed light on tomorrow.

The researchers, publishing their method in Nature, did not comment on the possible existence of aliens, instead they asked – if they did exist, where could they be observing us from?

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Lisa Kaltenegger, professor of astronomy at Cornell University and co-author of the study, told The Guardian: “Who would we be aliens for if someone else was looking?”

“There’s this tiny shard in the sky where other star systems have a cosmic front seat to find Earth as a planet in transit.”

In the search for extraterrestrial intelligent life (SETI), scientists have discovered thousands of planets around other solar systems – so-called exoplanets – using the “transit” or “Doppler spectroscopy” method. “.

The technique has proven to be so effective that the first exoplanet discovered using this method won its practitioners the Nobel Prize in Physics.

The James Webb Space Telescope, a more advanced and technically better space observatory than its famous predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope, is due to launch this year.

It is hoped that by using techniques such as analyzing the composition of the atmospheres of exoplanets, we may be able to find extraterrestrial life sooner rather than later.

Little is known about the planets that Kaltenegger and her colleague Jacqueline Faherty considered most likely for alien observers.

A nearby star (in galactic terms) to us, Trappist-1, has at least seven planets, including four in the “Goldilocks zone” that could make them hospitable to life – but it will not be able to see Earth in transit. the Sun for at least 1,642 years.

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