SETI in the Spatio-Temporal Survey Domain


Fractional range of orbital periods versus the mean angular separation for KNN clusters in (RA, Dec) space of transiting exoplanet systems in Kepler

Traditional searches for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) or "technosignatures" focus on dedicated observations of single stars or regions in the sky to detect excess or transient emission from intelligent sources.

The newest generation of synoptic time domain surveys enable an entirely new approach: spatio-temporal SETI, where technosignatures may be discovered from spatially resolved sources or multiple stars over time. Current optical time domain surveys such as ZTF and the Evryscope can probe 10-100 times more of the "Cosmic Haystack" parameter space volume than many radio SETI investigations. Small-aperture, high cadence surveys like Evryscope can be comparable in their Haystack volume completeness to deeper surveys including LSST.

Investigations with these surveys can also be conducted at a fraction of the cost of dedicated SETI surveys, since they make use of data already being gathered. However, SETI methodology has not widely utilized such surveys, and the field is in need of new search algorithms that can account for signals in both the spatial and temporal domains. Here I describe the broad potential for modern wide-field time domain optical surveys to revolutionize our search for technosignatures, and illustrate some example SETI approaches using transiting exoplanets to form a distributed beacon.

James. R. A. Davenport
(Submitted on 9 Jul 2019)

Comments: 8 pages, 3 figures, AJ submitted
Subjects: Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM)
Cite as: arXiv:1907.04443 [astro-ph.IM] (or arXiv:1907.04443v1 [astro-ph.IM] for this version)
Submission history
From: James RA Davenport
[v1] Tue, 9 Jul 2019 22:29:55 UTC (106 KB)
https://arxiv.org/abs/1907.04443
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