Feeds

UK boffins are going on an alien hunt

Going to catch a big one...

Security for virtualized datacentres

Physicists have been hearing this afternoon about attempts by UK astronomers to find evidence of alien life - buried in over 2000 hours of archived telescope data.

A group of researchers at Leeds University re-examined images collected by the Whipple Cherenkov telescope in Arizona, and presented the results at The Insititute of Physics conference, Nuclear and Particle Physics Conference at the University of Surrey.

Whipple is used primarily for detecting high energy gamma rays, but is also useful for spotting the kind of optical signal that could be used to identify alien civilisations, the researchers say.

Dr Joachim Rose at Leeds University said: “The Whipple telescope has an ultra high-speed camera to record faint flashes of light from cosmic rays and from high-energy gamma rays entering the Earth’s atmosphere. There are 20 to 30 naturally occurring light flashes recorded every second. A few unusual images from extraterrestrial’s signals would be easy to miss as the analysis software normally rejects anything that it doesn't expect.

"On average we see such an unusual flash every six hours when pointing in the direction of one of these candidate stars. However, this is comparable to the rate of similar flashes in other regions of the sky where there is no candidate star.

The team has examined more than 2000 hours of telescope data from the archives, and it isn't letting anything as boring as a lack of solid results get in its way. Dr Stella Bradbury, who also works on the project, quotes astronomer Frank Drake: “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”.

She continues: ”So far only a minute fraction of the sky has been searched and arrays of telescopes can carry out much more sensitive searches than a single telescope”. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
What's that STINK? Rosetta probe shoves nose under comet's tail
Rotten eggs, horse dung and almonds – yuck
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Kip Thorne explains how he created the black hole for Interstellar
Movie special effects project spawns academic papers on gravitational lensing
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
Moment of truth for LOHAN's servos: Our US allies are poised for final test flight
Will Vulture 2 freeze at altitude? Edge Research Lab to find out
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.