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Profile Johnney Guinness
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Message 991907 - Posted: 25 Apr 2010, 20:58:59 UTC
Last modified: 25 Apr 2010, 21:58:23 UTC

Visual SETI

Does anyone else spend time looking for visual signs of Extraterrestrial Intelligence in Astronomical images? - - - Because i do this all the time. I've been doing this for years now. I actually can't help myself, i kinda do this sub-consciously as i look at beautiful astronomical images. Sometimes i can spend several hours looking at one high resolution image.

I use the words "Visual SETI" as opposed to "Optical SETI" because Optical SETI is a distinct field that is looking for possible laser type optical pulses from intelligent life, i'm not looking for this.

Visual SETI is very simple to do. You just visit the websites of the worlds largest optical telescopes, download the largest possible resolution images they have and start looking for anything in the picture that looks like nature might not have created that structure. I use images from both ground and space based telescopes, including the Hubble telescope. I blow-up the images very large and study what i see very closely.

Basically, in very high resolution astronomical images, almost everything that is not black in colour is a star, nebula or galaxy that is shining because of nuclear fusion.
But...... Very long exposure images of very distant galaxy's and stars will also contain "foreground" stars or stars that are close to us in astronomical terms.

Today we know about over 450 exoplanets, planets around other near-by stars. So by examining some of these Very long exposure images of very distant galaxy's and stars, theoretically you might spot a possible exoplanet or maybe even something that looks like it could not have been created by nature.

So far i have not spotted anything that looks like nature did not create it. But i do wonder about many of the objects that i have seen. It can be very difficult to say whats a very dim star and whats a bright surface of an exoplanet. So far i cannot report finding any aliens, but i have lots of stuff that could be classed as possible exoplanet candidates.

What to look for? --- Well anything that is not a circle or is blurred and possibly moved while the camera lens was open. Maybe anything with a straight edge. And of coarse, i'm always looking for "starship enterprise" type craft, if they ever show up!! LOL :) --- Basically anything that nature might not have created.

Anybody else ever do this?

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Example image blown up and zoomed in. Its from the large binocular telescope in Arizona. I circled 3 interesting objects in red just as examples.



The one with the biggest red circle is blown up further in this example;



In the above image, i see at least 5 objects of interest. In this next image i have circled them so you can see what i am looking at. Its the same image but i just added the circles.



The green, blue and purple circled objects are interesting. What are they,cos they are not stars! All 3 are on the near side of the larger object circled in red.

John.
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Profile Johnney Guinness
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Message 991914 - Posted: 25 Apr 2010, 22:18:50 UTC

The full size original image containing that object can be found here;
Its 8Mb in size; http://lbc.oa-roma.inaf.it/commissioning/data/prettypics/CL2244_RVB.jpg

John.

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Message 992026 - Posted: 26 Apr 2010, 12:10:34 UTC

Interesting stuff you got going on there.

Perhaps not the same as what you are doing but have you seen Galaxy Zoo

....The sharp-eyed visitors to the Galaxy Zoo are very good at spotting the weird and wonderful — indeed, this is one of the most active areas of the discussion forum...

Expect the Unexpected — Hanny's Voorwerp

One of the most exciting discoveries from the original Galaxy Zoo was something we never expected. Hanny Van Arkel, a Dutch schoolteacher and Galaxy Zoo volunteer, posted an image to the Galaxy Zoo forum and asked "What's the blue stuff below?" No one knew. The object became known as Hanny's "Voorwerp" — Dutch for "object".

The Voorwerp is only one of the many interesting and wonderful objects that users found in Galaxy Zoo 1. Teams of astronomers — and of Zooites — are working hard to follow up on these. It's something that is unique to a project like the Zoo. Computers will slowly get better at classifying galaxies, but looking at an image and asking "what's that odd thing?" remains uniquely human.

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Sometimes I think we are alone in the universe, and sometimes I think we are not. In either case the idea is quite staggering.

Profile Johnney Guinness
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Message 996175 - Posted: 14 May 2010, 15:00:48 UTC
Last modified: 14 May 2010, 15:06:01 UTC

Here is another colossal image i have been studying. Its a recent image taken with the ESO VISTA 4.1 meter telescope in Chile. Its called the "Cat’s Paw Nebula (NGC 6334)"

ESO press release image; http://www.eso.org/public/news/eso1017/

If you go to the image page for "PR Image eso1017a", you can download a 152 meg JPEG image. Its massive and the detail is incredible. There are thousands or even millions of very interesting objects in this image if you blow the image up large. Haven't spotted anything yet that looks like its not made by natural processes. But i always have hope.

The sheer amount of stars in this image gives me a lot of hope that some day soon we will confirm that there is life on other planets. I look at this image and think to myself "The universe is just brimming with life", how could it not be?.

The image; Cat’s Paw Nebula (NGC 6334)



John.
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