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The artificial light emitted from Proxima B may be detectable with the James Webb Space Telescope

The artificial light emitted from Proxima B may be detectable with the James Webb Space Telescope

A Harvard and Stanford astronomical team led by Avi Loeb recently investigated the possibility of emitting artificial light from the dark side of Proxima B. Calculates the light curves of the planet and its parent star. Loeb and others argue that NASA’s new James Webb Space Telescope can detect artificial light on Proxima B. Proxima b is the most If we look at it from Earth, the nearby exoplanet is 4.2 light years away. Since parent, Proxima Centauri, No matter how relatively small it is, the habitable zone is close to the star, which means that the outer planet is closed by tides, that is, where one side is always facing its parent star. The team says so Daytime side life would be unlikely to arise due to the constant flow of intense radiation from the parent star but this planet Life can harbor the dark side. Through artificial light (eg Lead) Loeb’s team finds that cities lit from this dark side can distinguish these artificial light sources with a powerful telescope like JWST. Discovered in 2016, Proxima b is a rocky exoplanet 1.27 times the size of Earth, orbiting Proxima Centauri in 11.2 days. The planet is located in the Hertz region, which could indicate liquid water on the surface.

Artist’s impression of Proxima b’s surface of Proxima Centauri’s parent star. Top right binary Alpha Centauri AB. ESO Credits

from James Webb Telescope It is the successor to Hubble and was founded by NASA in cooperation with the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency. It is basically an infrared telescope, and it has a wider spectrum image than the Hubble telescope. The telescope will operate farther from Earth than Hubble, in one It orbits the sun at a distance of 1,400,000 km from Earth. When launched in October 2021, this Giant Telescope will be the largest and most powerful telescope in the world, able to “ look back ” 200 million years after the Big Bang. The expected “life span” is five to ten years and the launch will be on an Ariane-5 missile from Kourou, French Guiana. The first observations are expected in 2022. Professor Loeb He spent most of his working life anticipating the existence of extraterrestrial life and suggesting ways in which “this life” could be discovered. Loeb is among others involved in The Starshot Project Breakthrough, Which aims to send high-speed laser-guided light sails to Proxima Centauri to achieve within 20 years. Now he turns his attention Proxima b, Which appears to be a good candidate in “the search for extraterrestrial life.”
It was the tidal locking that prompted Loeb to consider the possibility of detecting LED light from Proxima b using JWST, which the team did by calculating the light curves of the planet and its parent star. “The two different scenarios that we pose are artificial lighting with the same spectrum as LEDs commonly used on Earth, and a narrower spectrum with the same amount of light as the total artificial lighting on the ground,” the team says. And they continue: “We discovered that JWST It would be able to detect LED artificial light that makes up 5 percent of the stellar energy. Our prediction requires optimal performance of the near infrared spectrophotometer (NIR), And even if this is not possible with JWST, future observatories such as play It might be able to detect this artificial illumination. ”LUVOIR, or Large UV / Optical / Infrared Surveyor, is a concept design for a new multi-wavelength space observatory that is being studied by NASA.

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This is because JWST can see the narrow band light that can point towards the LED, because the planet’s atmosphere can be distinguished. In this way, researchers can use tools in the observatory to determine how much energy is being transmitted on the planet, and then calculate the light curves to see if they match those of the LED light source. To reach the conclusion of artificial light detection, Loeb used the JWST Exposure Time Calculator, which allows astronomers to predict what might be detected over a period of time based on preset settings, even before the observatory launch. It enabled the team to determine the probability of detecting different flux values ​​and those values ​​at a wavelength that corresponds to the levels of artificial light expected from a civilization living in perpetual darkness. The team says: “Proxima b is intertwined with the tides and if it has a permanent side of day and night, civilization can illuminate the night side with mirrors that are launched into orbit or placed at strategic points.” “In this case, the bright lights on the permanent night side should be very strong, and thus there is a greater chance of detection by JWST,” he continues. In addition to this:We discovered that JWST would be able to demonstrate artificial lighting for standard LEDs 500 times stronger than those currently on Earth, and for artificial lighting with an intensity comparable to that on Earth.” He. She Research Posted May 17 at arXiv.org.

In recent research from The Ohio State University, which also looked at JWST’s capabilities in relation to biometrics, the research team found that JWST in 60 hours could reveal a possible sign of life on exoplanets. Ammonia can be detected around gaseous dwarf planets after only a few revolutions. The Ohio team revealed results Research During the APS Meeting April 2021. Sources: ScienceDaily, Phys.org

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