SETI & Technosignatures

Searching the SN 1987A SETI Ellipsoid with TESS

By Keith Cowing
Status Report
February 20, 2024
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Searching the SN 1987A SETI Ellipsoid with TESS
Normalized light curves for six selected SN 1987A Ellipsoid crossing targets that exhibit interesting behavior related to stellar variability, described in the text. Common Time and Flux labels are displayed for the entire Figure. Each light curve is color-coded by TESS sector to aid in viewing. The vertical red line in each plot indicates the crossing time with the SN 1987A Ellipsoid. The vertical black lines show the uncertainty window of the crossing time calculated in Section 3. None of these objects show any change in their light curve behavior coincident with the Ellipsoid crossing times. — astro-ph.SR

The SETI Ellipsoid is a strategy for technosignature candidate selection which assumes that extraterrestrial civilizations who have observed a galactic-scale event — such as supernova 1987A — may use it as a Schelling point to broadcast synchronized signals indicating their presence.

Continuous wide-field surveys of the sky offer a powerful new opportunity to look for these signals, compensating for the uncertainty in their estimated time of arrival. We explore sources in the TESS continuous viewing zone, which corresponds to 5% of all TESS data, observed during the first three years of the mission. Using improved 3D locations for stars from Gaia Early Data Release 3, we identified 32 SN 1987A SETI Ellipsoid targets in the TESS continuous viewing zone with uncertainties better than 0.5 ly.

We examined the TESS light curves of these stars during the Ellipsoid crossing event and found no anomalous signatures. We discuss ways to expand this methodology to other surveys, more targets, and different potential signal types.

Bárbara Cabrales, James R. A. Davenport, Sofia Z. Sheikh, Steve Croft, Andrew P. V. Siemion, Daniel Giles, Ann Marie Cody

Comments: 17 pages, 6 figures, AJ published
Subjects: Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM); Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Solar and Stellar Astrophysics (astro-ph.SR)
Cite as: arXiv:2402.11037 [astro-ph.IM] (or arXiv:2402.11037v1 [astro-ph.IM] for this version)
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Submission history
From: Bárbara Cabrales
[v1] Fri, 16 Feb 2024 19:30:58 UTC (1,016 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) 🖖🏻