Breakthrough Listen: the telescope that “listen” the aliens

Breakthrough Listen

Matematically there should be about 10 planets inhabited by intelligent life forms in our galaxy and so which why we didn’t met them yet? See the surface of remote planets, that rotates around other stars, even the closest ones to our Sun, isn’t easy. There are instruments that can feel the presence of planetary bodies which rotate around the stars of the Milky Way, but no telescope is so powerful to understand what happen on (or under) the surface of those planets. For this reason the most reliable way to look alien life isn’t the view but the listening. The listening of celestial radio signs didn’t give any result until now, but recentelly new instruments were added, ready to look for extraterrestrial communication shapes around the million of closest stars to our sun: it is the project Breakthrough Listen.

The project Breakthrough Listen

Breakthrough Listen is the project to look for alien life shapes through the listening of transmissions in the million of closest stars to Sun. The project is financied by the russian billionaire Yuri Milner.

At the beginning 100 million of dollars were invested for this integalactic treasure hunt which have to be 10 years long and it started in the 2015. The initial project were divided into two parts:

  • Breakthrough Listen: it have to look and find alien communication signs;
  • Breakthrough Message: it is about the compilation and the sending of a message by the Earth.

Breakthrough started to look through the sky by using some 100 meters radiotelescopes of the Green Bank and the 64 meters one of Parkes.

Breakthrough Listen
The telescope of the Green Bank looking for alien messages

The project was the biggest ever made about the research of intelligent extraterrestrial life signs and today it grows up ever more, by addind to its fleet new instruments.

The new telescopes of Breakthrough

Four telescopes of the observatory VERITAS (Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array Sistem), in Arizona, entered in the project Breakthrough Listen.

The telescopes see optical light pulses long just few milliseconds. The adding of the four telescopes VERITAS to the project Breakthrough has the purpose to enlarge the research spectre. Until now, infact, they focused their attention to look through the sky to listen alien communication and not to see them.

Breakthrough Listen
The telescopes VERITAS are added to the project Breakthrough Listen

With the telescopes VERITAS it will be possible to see highly energentic gamma ray sources which impact on the terrestrial atmospher, by making visible a sonic boom. The phenomenon is called radiation of Cherenkov, which explains how the gamma ray aren’t able to pass through the atmosphere but, by impacting on it, they create lighting pulses. Those pulses can be used to understand where the gamma ray impacted on the atmosphere and where it comes from.

The hope is the one that, by using the four telescope combined, Breakthrough will be able to detect a kind of extreterrestrial Morse Code.

The idea isn’t really absurd, due to the fact that the same human race in the past used bright signs to send messages on the space.

How many possibilities do we have to find extraterrestrial messagese?

The program launched four years ago promised to be able to really find something out there. It was, and it still is, the most powerful project of its kind, ten times more accurate than every other predecessor. “If there are the aliens we will find them”. And so why we didn’t find them?

Breakthrough Listen
Breakthrough Listen listens the aliens

When we talk about intelligent life outside the Earth, we don’t know where it is or how it communicates. So our philosophy is to look in many places and in many ways. VERITAS further enlarge our observation range”, explains Yuri Milner. In this way the possibilities to find something increase.

If the most powerful terrestrial laser will be on Tabby and it points out on the Earth the telescopes VERITAS will catch it. But the million of stars that what we are talking about is much more close and, so, it will possible to find signs 10 times lower. We have just to listen out there if there is someone that would like to speak with us.

This post is also available in: itItaliano

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