SETI Institute Will Monitor 20,000 Red Dwarf Stars

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Michael Watson

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Message 1776765 - Posted: 7 Apr 2016, 3:12:40 UTC
Last modified: 7 Apr 2016, 3:16:11 UTC

In the belief that red dwarf stars may harbor habitable planets, after all, the SETI Institute will listen for intelligent radio signals from about 20,000 stars of this type. Most planets in the habitable zones of red dwarf stars are thought to always present the same side to their star.

Recent thinking has suggested that even these tidally locked planets may be able to distribute heat around their surfaces, evening out extremes of high and low temperatures. Concern has also been expressed about the fact that many red dwarf stars may flare up with energies destructive to life.

link to article on this new SETI search initiative:

http://www.space.com/32422-seti-search-alien-life-red-dwarfs.html
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Profile William Rothamel
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Message 1776810 - Posted: 7 Apr 2016, 9:05:35 UTC - in response to Message 1776765.  

How far away are these red dwarfs ? Wouldn't we have heard from them if in fact we are close enough to eaves drop ? Unless we are lucky enough to receive a narrow hello message beamed in our direction, someone is whistling Dixie. Why would any planets be tidally locked to red dwarfs ? If so I doubt that stable temperatures would be expected there.

Who is funding this endeavor ?
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Michael Watson

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Message 1776847 - Posted: 7 Apr 2016, 14:03:40 UTC
Last modified: 7 Apr 2016, 14:15:30 UTC

Red dwarfs, being quite small and dim, have narrow, close-in habitable zones. It's likely that most habitable planets in such systems, being so near the star, see their independent rotations overcome by the star's gravity. Some of the largest red dwarfs may host very slow rotators like Mercury.

It's now thought that a tidally locked planet may be able to distribute heat from its star-ward side to the rest of the planet, if it has a thick atmosphere and/or an ocean. The very substantial flaring of many red dwarf stars may produce marked temperature variations, and lethal x-rays. A non-flaring red dwarf would presumably be a more favorable abode of life. Since such a high proportion of stars in our galaxy are red dwarfs, ~75 percent, the non-flaring subset may still contain a respectable number of stars.

The information I've seen does not mention the distances of the selected stars. They are presumably closer than a sampling of brighter stars, as red dwarfs are more difficult to detect at similar distances. The SETI Institute is funded by private donations. They reportedly also have some income from satellite tracking work they do for the military.

These stars will be scrutinized over a wide range of radio frequencies, ~1 to 1o GHz, and at many specific, so-called 'magic' frequencies, like the neutral hydrogen line. The two year timeline for this project suggests that a substantial amount of time could be spent with each star. Exploring the parameter space in radio frequency and listening duration could turn up something we were not able to hear previously.
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Message boards : SETI@home Science : SETI Institute Will Monitor 20,000 Red Dwarf Stars


 
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