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Scientists find 1,000 nearby stars where aliens could detect life on Earth
October 23, 2020
Aliens could spy on us from more than 1,000 nearby stars as astronomers reveal a "star map" that shows where we should look for ETs.
Most of the 4,000-odd exoplanets we know of were found using the "transit method" – when light from a star dips as a planet gets in between it and Earth.
A new study found 1,004 stars like our Sun where aliens could use the same method to detect signs of life on Earth.
Study lead author Lisa Kaltenegger, an associate professor of astronomy at Cornell University's Carl Sagan Institute, said: "If we’re looking for intelligent life in the universe that could find us and might want to get in touch, we've just created the star map of where we should look first."
She added: "If observers were out there searching [from planets orbiting these stars], they would be able to see signs of a biosphere in the atmosphere of our Pale Blue Dot.
"And we can even see some of the brightest of these stars in our night sky without binoculars or telescopes."
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Researchers searched for stars within 326 light-years (100 parsecs) from us which aligned with the plane of Earth's orbit around the Sun.
They found 1,004 qualifying main-sequence stars – of which 508 "guarantee a minimum 10-hour-long observation of Earth's transit" across the sun's face.
The researchers don't know how many planets orbit these stars or if any could hold life.
But the finding means the light from Earth's biosphere – the layer which hosts life – would be visible to any aliens camped out there.