Model Of The Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence With Coronagraphic Imaging


A cartoon diagram of the OIRSETI geometry considered in this work

We present modeled detection limits of the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) and the Wide-Field Infrared Space Telescope (WFIRST) to an optical and infrared laser which could be used by an extraterrestrial civilization to signal their presence.

GPI and WFIRST could utilize a coronagraph to search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) in the present and future. We use archival data for GPI stars and simulated WFIRST observations to find the detectable flux ratio of a laser signal to residual scattered starlight around the target star. This flux ratio is then converted to detectable power as a function of distance from the parent star.

For GPI, we assume a monochromatic laser wavelength of 1.55 μm, and a wavelength of 575 nm for WFIRST. We assume the lasers are projected through a 10-m aperture, and that the intensity of the laser beam follows a Gaussian profile. Our analysis is performed on 6 stars with spectral types later than F within 20 pc (with an emphasis on solar analogs at different distances). The most notable result is the detection limit for τ Ceti, a G5V star with four known exoplanets, two of those within the habitable zone (HZ). The result shows that a 24 kW laser is detectable from τ Ceti from outside of the HZ with GPI and a 7.3 W laser is detectable from within τ Ceti's HZ by WFIRST.

Christina L. Vides, Bruce Macintosh, Breanna A. Binder, Robert J. De Rosa, Jean-Baptiste Ruffio, Dmitry Savransky
(Submitted on 9 Sep 2019)

Comments: Accepted to AJ, 10 pages, 5 figures, 4 tables
Subjects: Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM)
Cite as: arXiv:1909.04128 [astro-ph.IM] (or arXiv:1909.04128v1 [astro-ph.IM] for this version)
Submission history
From: Christina Vides
[v1] Mon, 9 Sep 2019 20:00:15 UTC (508 KB)

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