(ORDO NEWS) — A team of astronomers used the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) , a massive network of over 4,000 antennas located in the Western Australian wilderness, to search for aliens.
After analyzing the data collected over seven agonizing hours of observation, scientists, to their horror, found nothing.
As detailed in their new paper , accepted for publication in the journal Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia, the team used MWA to collect data by peering into the center of the Milky Way , where the supermassive black hole Sagittarius A* is believed to be .
The authors of the study looked for techno signatures of hypothetical aliens at a frequency of 155 megahertz, which was the first search of its kind. Typically, astronomers focused on lower frequencies.
“This is the largest population of known exoplanets in our four MWA studies,” said Dr. Chenoa Tremblay, lead author of the study and a scientist at the SETI Institute.
Exoplanets are a particularly interesting place to look for signs of extraterrestrial life. The previous observation of the same region of the Milky Way in 2013 covered only 38 exoplanets. The new observation has increased the number of exoplanets to 144.
We’re just beginning to understand what’s going on in the center of our Galaxy, so there could be many more exoplanets out there. However, we even know how many stars are hidden there, as dense clouds of gas and dust interfere with our view.
The last observation of astronomers could theoretically cover a huge number of star systems. The fact is that the new study was based on a previous survey of the sky, in which 3.3 million stars were classified, but this is less than one percent of the area covered by the MWA this time.
“If we extrapolate this, then we cover billions of star systems to the center of our galaxy,” Tremblay added.
Of course, just because they didn’t find aliens in a particular area of the sky communicating on a particular frequency for a seven-hour period of time doesn’t prove that they aren’t there. Therefore, we hope that observations will be continued.
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