SETI – Study Focusing On Sun-like Stars

| October 6, 2007

Word from the New Scientist that a group of researchers are working up a detailed SETI search on a nearby star that is specifically selected because of it’s similarities to our sun.

From New Scientist

The star, called HIP 56948, lies a little more than 200 light years from Earth. Its size, mass, temperature, and chemical makeup are all so similar to the Sun’s that no measurable differences could be found in high-resolution observations made by the 2.7-metre telescope at the McDonald Observatory in Texas, US.

Other very Sun-like stars have previously been identified, including 18 Scorpii, HD 98618, and HIP 100963. But those three stars have several times more lithium than the Sun, while HIP 56948 is almost identical to the Sun in this respect as well, making it an even closer match.

The importance of Lithium in the star’s makeup is not well defined, but it is suspected (still in the process of being proven or refuted by evidence) that lower Lithium levels result in the start being less likely to have variations in output and spectra. This energy stability over periods of hundreds of millions of years might be vital to creating a biosphere.

One thing is certain, the lack of evidence from SETI is somewhat surprising. Either life has not appeared elsewhere, or they are using a much better form of communication that does not propagate.

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Category: Science, Space

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Bruce Henderson is a former Marine who focuses custom data mining and visualization technologies on the economy and other disasters.

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