Exoplanets & Exomoons

There's No Place Like Home (in Our Own Solar System): Searching for ET Near White Dwarfs

By Keith Cowing
June 9, 2021
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There's No Place Like Home (in Our Own Solar System): Searching for ET Near White Dwarfs
Habitable exoplanet orbiting a white dwarf

The preponderance of white dwarfs in the Milky Way were formed from the remnants of stars of the same or somewhat higher mass as the Sun, i.e., from G-stars. We know that life can exist around G-stars.

Any technologically advanced civilization residing within the habitable zone of a G-star will face grave peril when its star transitions from the main sequence and successively enters sub-giant, red giant, planetary nebula, and white dwarf stages. In fact, if the civilization takes no action it will face certain extinction. The two alternatives to passive extinction are (a) migrate away from the parent star in order to colonize another star system, or (b) find a viable solution within one’s own solar system.

It is argued in this paper that migration of an entire biological population or even a small part of a population is virtually impossible, but in any event, far more difficult than remaining in one’s home solar system where the problem of continued survival can best be solved. This leads to the conclusion that sub-giants, red giants, planetary nebula, and white dwarfs are the best possible candidate targets for SETI observations. Search strategies are suggested.

John Gertz

Comments: Published in JBIS Vol. 72 No. 11 November 2019
Subjects: Popular Physics (physics.pop-ph); Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Journal reference: JBIS Vol. 72 No. 11 November 2019
Cite as: arXiv:2001.00673 [physics.pop-ph] (or arXiv:2001.00673v4 [physics.pop-ph] for this version)
Submission history
From: John Gertz
[v1] Fri, 3 Jan 2020 00:16:56 UTC (902 KB)
[v2] Thu, 23 Jan 2020 19:17:31 UTC (1,624 KB)
[v3] Mon, 27 Jan 2020 18:24:44 UTC (469 KB)
[v4] Tue, 8 Jun 2021 16:54:40 UTC (1,624 KB)
Astrobiology, SETI,

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻