Detecting Stellar Civilizations Using Waste Heat Signatures

Can we find stellar civilizations by looking for their waste heat? New research suggests that it is possible, and practical. Earth-like civilizations generate heat from the energy that they utilize. The thermal radiation from this heat can be a t

Published on 21st Sep, 2017

Can we find stellar civilizations by looking for their waste heat? New research suggests that it is possible, and practical.

Earth-like civilizations generate heat from the energy that they utilize. The thermal radiation from this heat can be a thermodynamic marker for civilizations. Here we model such planetary radiation on Earth-like planets and propose a strategy for detecting such an alien unintentional thermodynamic electromagnetic biomarker. Astronomical infrared (IR) civilization biomarkers may be detected within an interestingly large cosmic volume using a 70 m-class or larger telescope. In particular, the Colossus telescope with achievable coronagraphic and adaptive optics performance may reveal Earth-like civilizations from visible and IR photometry timeseries’ taken during an exoplanetary orbit period. The detection of an alien heat signature will have far-ranging implications, but even a null result, given 70 m aperture sensitivity, could also have broad social implications.

Join us this week for an exciting conversation with Dr. Svetlana Berdyugina and Dr. Jeff Kuhn as they discuss new research outlining how to detect extraterrestrial civilizations by seeing their “waste heat” also known as global warming.

We’ll be doing a deep dive into their 2015 paper titled “Global Warming as a Detectable Thermodynamic Marker of Earth-like Extrasolar Civilizations: The case for a Telescope like Colossus” and answering questions like...

What type of civilizations would we be able to detect?
What kind of telescope would be needed?
How can we tell the difference between a civilizations city and a super volcano?

Follow along by downloading the paper here:
https://www.planets.life/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Global-Warming-as-a-Detectable-Thermodynamic-Marker-of-Earth-like-Extrasolar-Civilizations-The-case-for-a-Telescope-like-Colossus.pdf