🔑 Key Findings:
- A scientist says advanced aliens might be able to see Earth from their telescopes
- Since they’re so far away, they’d be viewing the distant past
- The aliens would have to be around 3,000 light-years away to see us
TBILISI, Georgia — Could aliens be sightseeing Earth’s major landmarks? A new study proposes that certain advanced extraterrestrial civilizations might be capable of identifying famous structures on Earth, but only those that have been around for 3,000 years.
This limitation is due to the time required for light to travel across the universe. The study author, Z.N. Osmanov, a Research Affiliate at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute, argues that, based on the universality of the laws of physics, the maximum distance at which our planet’s structures could potentially be detected is around 3,000 light-years.
The study further explores our visibility to extraterrestrial beings by classifying the technological levels of potential alien civilizations. These classifications range from civilizations that can harness the energy of their local star to more advanced societies.
Specifically, it hypothesizes three major types of technological civilizations: Type-I, an alien society that consumes the total energy incident on its planet from its host star; Type-II, an extraterrestrial civilization that utilizes the entire energy output of its star; and Type-III, an advanced alien society that consumes the total energy of its galaxy.
“In particular, the question is: can the artifacts of our technological society be visible and potentially detectable by the telescopes of ETs,” Osmanov writes in the journal Acta Astronautica. “Since the question is to identify our society with civilization, the major focus should be on the search for large ships, buildings and space satellites etc. Such artifacts might easily be identified as artificial constructions.”
“For this purpose, it is natural to focus on the visible light reflected from the corresponding objects. To identify an observed object with an artificial one, the best way is to spatially resolve it. Therefore, optical telescopes will be used,” Osmanov continues.
Further suggestions for the potential observation are several alien telescopes working together or super-advanced computations.
“Instead of using large telescopes of astronomical sizes (although, such a possibility cannot be excluded from consideration), one can apply long baseline optical interferometry, by using at least two telescopes separated by a huge distance,” the researcher concludes.
“We have shown that Type-I, II, III advanced alien societies might use quantum computers based on artificial black holes, which are able to record the mentioned signals.”
You might also be interested in:
South West News Service writer Dean Murray contributed to this report.