An astronomer in Sweden has proposed a unique new tactic in the quest to find extraterrestrial life in space: search for vanishing stars.
The idea behind the concept is that a star or galaxy that suddenly disappears from view without a astrophysical explanation would therefore have to have been eradicated by aliens.
After years of pondering the unorthodox methodology, professor Beatriz Villarroel and her students have begun to put it to the test by looking for these 'impossible vanishing stars.'
An initial study of stellar surveys has so far only found one potential case out of 300,000, but that may be all it takes to solidify the theory.
Follow up research will attempt to find the 'lost star' using a high powered telescope, which should serve to confirm or refute the object's disappearance.
Although the idea suggests the tantalizing possibility that confirmation of ETs may already be a part of our scientific record, it also raises some troubling and perplexing questions.
Does humanity really wish to find aliens that have the power to extinguish a star, either by accident or intentionally?
Additionally, one wonders if such an enormous event would wipe out an alien race, leaving us with no one to actually find once we realize they had once been 'out there.'
Then again, perhaps a program aimed at finding vanished stars could be a future defense initiative centered around keeping an eye out for hostile aliens.
Coast Insiders looking to learn more about the scientific search for ETs in space can check out the many appearances on the program by SETI director Seth Shostak.
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Source: New Scientist