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November 06, 2011

City lights = E.T Civilization

Astronomers are considering a new and interesting approach to finding life on other planets. Avi Loeb and Edwin Turner, who are from Princeton and Harvard University, suggest seeing if a planet has city lights when it eclipses its own star from the view of our telescopes. They hypothesize that any advanced civilization should have artificial illumination in the dark, thus the presence of artificial lights should indicate life on another planet, and the planet eclipsing its star would remove other forms of light that would otherwise have illuminated the planet.

This isn't to say that all astronomers should now start looking at random planets to see if they illuminate city lights, but "looking for alien cities...wouldn't require extra resources. And if we succeed, it would change our perception of our place in the universe,"

What do you all think? is this a viable method for searching for other forms of life?

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Posted by davidnug at November 6, 2011 12:00 PM


I think that looking for city light of an alien civilization would be a great way to find other intelligent life out in the universe. The only thing that i think would be difficult would be getting the proper technology to be able to view the alien cities. Either way, it's still another possibility and one that i think could possibly work.

Posted by: nzingas at November 6, 2011 01:39 PM

I think that this is a very interesting way to look for life on other planets, especially when the only method we've discussed in class is looking for the presence of water or other organic materials on planets. If we develop the technology to be able to see city lights from great distances, I suppose this would be a great technique to look for other civilizations on distant planets.

Posted by: ebench at November 8, 2011 10:24 AM

I personally think this would be a very inefficient method of finding extra terrestrial life forms. There are so many planets out there, it would be like finding a needle in a haystack.

Posted by: chazr at November 9, 2011 02:27 PM

i can definatley see the positives in this hypothesis since the idea of seeing artificial light does make sense, but i also disagree with some parts of it such as making the distinction between this artificial light and other lights in the sky such as other planets or stars. I would see no problem with trying this method and I would be interested to see if their ideas change along the way

Posted by: zachrk at November 10, 2011 12:53 AM

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