Cepheid Variable Star.  Credit:  Hubble Space Telescope

Communicating Via the Cepheid Galactic Internet

3 Sep , 2008 by

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If an alien species wanted to communicate with Earthlings, or any other civilization that might be out there, how might they do it? Some have proposed microwaves, neutrinos or lasers, or even moving stars around into patterns. But why wouldn’t aliens just use the internet? The Cepheid Galactic Internet, that is. A group of scientists has proposed that a sufficiently advanced civilization could use Cepheid variable stars as beacons to transmit information throughout the galaxy and beyond. These stars can be seen from long distances and, the scientists say, any technologically advanced civilization would likely observe Cepheid variables as distance markers. The group of physicists and astronomers from Hawaii and California propose that Cepheids and any other regular variable stars should be searched for signs of phase modulation and patterns which could be indicative of intentional signaling.

In their paper, the group of scientists proposes that advanced civilizations hoping to communicate would want to use a form of communication with a high data rate, just as everyone on Earth would prefer broadband for their internet. Microwaves and lasers have problems with resolution and noise, while photons or neutrinos would take an enormous amount of power to send messages long distances. And moving stars around? Well, that sounds pretty difficult if not labor intensive. So how about something akin to a T1 line that is already established? All that would need to be done is to “tickle” the star, as the scientists call it, or tweak the Cepheid, to send a message. The researchers write, “Recently, some authors have driven home the point that it is far more energetically practical for transmitting large amounts of data to place long lasting artifacts in stellar systems to which the ETI (extra terrestrial intelligence) may wish communicate information (their history for example) as intelligent life matures and becomes capable of decoding this ‘Rosetta stone.’”

By “tickling” the star, with the delivery of a relatively small amount of energy via neutrinos or other forms of power pulses at the right time could trigger the Cepheid to a specific variability, and a message could be encoded within that variability.

The researchers admit the civilization attempting this would have to be highly advanced. But if some civilization has in fact created a message and sent it via the Cepheid Galactic Internet, all we have do to is open our inbox.

Who knows, they could be on to something. They’ve even discussed their proposal with Freeman Dyson. “It may be a long shot,” they write, “but should it be correct, the payoff would be immeasurable for humanity. The beauty of this suggestion seems to be simply that the data already exists, and we need only look at the data in a new way.”

Sources: arXiv, On Orbit


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VitaminT
Member
VitaminT
September 3, 2008 8:10 PM

Where’s my foil hat?

Jon
Guest
Jon
September 3, 2008 11:22 PM

I love it! it seems very practical, as the infrastructure is already in place! And it assumes that aliens have been sending us messages all this time under our noses!

As you can tell, this makes me very excited. I need some alone time now… wink

Molecular
Member
Molecular
September 4, 2008 3:24 AM

Not that any constellation has been arranged in a particular order, but, could it be that the very brightness of the stars in these, represent something? This could be a similar form of a marker, or, communication of something pertinent.

Hunnter
Member
Hunnter
September 4, 2008 4:22 AM
Well, Molecular, i doubt it really since almost every constellation isn’t lined up, when you moved away from Earth that is. But it is really strange. Anyway, it does sound like an interesting idea. So when can we expect a space agency to send a satellite near the sun and tickle it. Lets hope it doesn’t go mad and EXPLODE in rage… Another thing that could be done by any advanced civilizations would be to cover the whole star with a large sphere, which is then basically turned into a massive LCD, but across every possible spectrum. Once these things are turned on, they could probably be forgotten about (outside of possible maintenance, but they will surely have… Read more »
RL
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RL
September 4, 2008 4:59 AM

Hmmm. A very interesting idea. I wonder if some enterprising astronomer could use the existing data to look for modulations…

LLDIAZ
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LLDIAZ
September 4, 2008 12:06 PM

Lets say you’ve taken 100,000 years to reach the technological stage in which you live in. Then comes along this “just out of the jungle species” and says we want your technology? Would you even acknowlegde them?. I dont think so!!
Furthermore if we take our own geo-political scene as our guide we would see that countries with more to offer often dont even open channels of communication with others with less. They dont see any benefit in doing so. Why expose yourself to a potential enemy, the risk/reward ratio is to one sided…

Eric Near Buffalo
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Eric Near Buffalo
September 4, 2008 11:07 AM

Any aliens with any idea of our existence probably wouldn’t bother trying to communicate based on how we treat eachother.

Nasikabatrachus
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Nasikabatrachus
September 4, 2008 11:17 AM

With our luck, we’ll open it up and it will just be alien spam.

Eric Near Buffalo
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Eric Near Buffalo
September 4, 2008 11:19 AM
I’m not trying to take on an activist mentality, but just think about it. We have global pissing matches with people because of race, religion and social status. Why should anyone or anything try to contact us? We’d either want to attack it because it was different or posed an imminent threat just because it reached out or run and hide because we were too feeble to understand it’s message. We aren’t very far from the early homo-sapiens, people. We still have our animalistic moments. Not very trustworthy or intelligent when you think about it. We are a smart species, don’t get me wrong. But when people my age (26) or of other age groups kill eachother and… Read more »
Sili
Member
Sili
September 4, 2008 11:42 AM

By “tickling” the star, with the delivery of a relatively small amount of energy via neutrinos or other forms of power pulses at the right time could trigger the Cepheid to a specific variability, and a message could be encoded within that variability.

Would these be the same neutrinos that we can barely detect at the moment even when we do our damnedest to make intensive ‘beams’ of them? The selfsame neutrinos of which we detected a grand total of TWENTY-FOUR (counting antis two) when we observed a bloody SUPERNOVA?

Yush … piece of cake.

Sili
Member
Sili
September 4, 2008 11:49 AM
DrNecropolis
Member
DrNecropolis
September 4, 2008 11:59 AM

and maybe cepheid’s aren’t even stars at all. Maybe they’re just giant Eat At Joe’s signs. I’m sure any civilization clever enough to use a star as a telegraph has some other way of communicating long distance, my guess is they’re just more patient

John C Hobbs
Guest
John C Hobbs
September 4, 2008 12:38 PM

Fun idea. After all, dams are built by earthquakes, beavers and men. Why shouldn’t a naturally occuring phenomenon seed the idea? What about a graded set of primers? As for the melancholiacs, give it a rest!

Aodhhan
Member
Aodhhan
September 4, 2008 1:03 PM
Poor use of grant money for sure. Lets take a bunch of references (some of our own previous work…so we get a bit more noticed), use some common parts from each, interject something else for good measure, smoke some wild Hawaiian plants, come up with some silly idea from it all and then get away with it by claiming, “…a sufficiently advanced civilzation can do this!” Why not go for broke in the fact they would be able to change the color along with it? I mean really… if they were so advanced. If you would like to drop them a line. Ask them if they lost some sort of bet: John Learned: [email protected] R-P. Kudritzki: [email protected] Sandip… Read more »
Tyler Durden
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Tyler Durden
September 4, 2008 7:42 PM

@ idiot above:

Science is never a waste of time.

It may not pay off with the results you were hoping for, but that in itself is a reward. You’ve conclusively proved one more way not to find alien intelligences.

When Thomas Edison was asked whether he got frustrated when he failed to produce a working lightbulb over 100 times, he said:

“I didn’t fail. I found 100 ways how I could go about not making a lightbulb.”

Chuck Lam
Guest
Chuck Lam
September 5, 2008 5:11 AM

I can’t help wonder just what these physicists and astronomers, who came up with this ludicrous idea of modulating Cepheids for communication purposes, are smoking. These guys must be frustrated unemployed ‘Star Trek’ writers. What a waste of tax dollars.

igrnemo
Guest
igrnemo
September 4, 2008 10:24 PM

Great idea!
Dut:
Trying to download the paper from arxiv, but it is damaged according to Acrobat Reader (v. 8smile

Aodhhan
Member
Aodhhan
September 5, 2008 1:15 AM

Okay Tyler,

Eat 100 razors. May not get the results you are looking for, but you’ll learn whether or not your body can take it. If it can, then we can do more research to figure out what further use we get from it. Never know, it may be the cure for cancer!

Huge difference between this and inventing something within your grasp and technology.

When it comes to taxpayer money, and public perception… considerations must be made on how it is spent.

Yes, it is possible to waste time and money on science. If every scientist conducted research without thought to proper use of resources, we quickly will find ourselves without funding and support.

…idiot.

LEON
Guest
LEON
September 5, 2008 3:49 AM

sounds great
but I really doubt can it be put into practice.

Chuck Lam
Guest
Chuck Lam
September 5, 2008 1:19 PM
To Jon Hanford: I suspect contact with an alien intelligence will likely never happen. Why you ask? Because any form of deliberately modulated rf energy diminishes inversely with distance. A multi-million-watt signal, directed or not, is reduced to essentially nothing after a light year or two of travel. Attempting to detect a multi-million-watt signal at cosmic distances against a natural background of cosmic static just isn’t going to happen. I have said before, trying to detect an alien signal will be similar to looking for a burning candle on the surface of our sun. The SETI group and others are simply wasting their time and money listening for an alien signal.
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