Sorry Guys: Largest Sky Survey of Its Kind Finds No Evidence Aliens Are Out There

Scans run of thousands of distant stars looking to find traces of laser signals – which some scientists think could offer signs of advanced alien life – have turned up empty, dealing a blow to those hoping to find any interstellar neighbours in the near future.

In a new study, researchers looked at light coming from 5,600 stars in our own Milky Way – with 2,000 of those thought to host warm, Earth-like planets – but found nothing. Either alien civilisations aren’t using powerful laser beams like we thought they might be, or those aliens just aren’t there.

A team from the University of California Berkeley based their work on ideas proposed by fellow SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) scientists, namely: if advanced life exists out there, it might well be using ‘directed energy’ laser technology.

We’re just beginning to explore this kind of tech ourselves, and experts including Stephen Hawking think looking deep into space for these kind of laser broadcasts could be one way of spotting where alien life exists.

Unless… maybe not, according to the new research.

“We found no such laser emission coming from the planetary region around any of the 5,600 stars,” the team explains in their paper.

That’s based on an analysis of historical starlight measurements made at the Keck telescope in Hawaii between 2004 and 2016, processed through a special algorithm designed to find evidence of unusual laser bursts.

The algorithm developed by the scientists was designed to cut out the background light emitted by each star to help find artificially created pulses that could be a sign of laser beams, but no traces were found beyond what you would expect from uninhabited systems.

But we can’t rule out the existence of extraterrestrials just yet – the findings just mean that if they are out there, they don’t seem to be using this type of laser technology across this cross-section of stars, most of which are within 100 parsecs (about 326 light-years) of our planet.

“These results put an upper bound on the number of civilisations transmitting lasers at us while we were observing,” one of the team, Nathaniel Tellis, told George Dvorsky at Gizmodo.

“It is only one type of communication, but we believe that for targeted communication, lasers are highly efficient.”

In the image below, you can see one of the false positives turned up by the study, caused by heated gas around a star. 

Credit: UC Berkeley

Maybe the aliens out there have gone way beyond this type of laser communication system, but it’s relatively easy to spot signs of it from Earth, which is why scientists wanted to give it a try – unlike radio signals, laser signals don’t degrade much through space.

All that said, Earth isn’t beaming out any laser communications to distant worlds either. In other words, if the study had been conducted on Earth from 325 light-years away, no signs of life would’ve been spotted.

In other words, we may just need to change what we’re looking for, rather than where we’re looking.

“Every single one of those stars could have a New York City, a Paris, a London, and we would have no idea,” Tellis told Marina Koren at The Atlantic.

The study has been accepted for publication in an upcoming edition of The Astronomical Journal. Until then, you can read the preprint version at


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45 thoughts on “Sorry Guys: Largest Sky Survey of Its Kind Finds No Evidence Aliens Are Out There

  1. It’s a whack a mole universe… as one civilization is hitting its stride another one is dying… considering the distances and time involved the timing would have to be perfect…. perhaps alien signals were hitting our earth around the time of our dinosaur period… no one here to receive it… now that we are somewhat advanced we send signals out that arrive at the planet that tried communicating with our dinosaurs… planet is dead… no life on it … nobody to receive the transmission

  2. They are different types of alien from 1 to 5 we as human are type 0. We don’t have anything on these aliens as well as the one that’s already here

  3. If we traveled on waves it’s possible there’s millions of earth like planets..The only question is why? Why would a father energy force create constantly? What purpose do we really have here? We work survive consume then die..We enter the world the same way we leave the world..Yet technically our dna spreads across the earth in some tiny area forever..We become part of the earth the dirt..What and who gains anything from us being here living our everyday life? Other than ourselves and family or friends..Everything is a question it’s like we are just here..We are not supposed to know why we were truly created..An energy that can create an entire universe and then decide to dissappear forever makes absolutely no sense..Never come back to what you created or just sit above and watch..Even if we adapted what natural energy created earth? Without us on this planet it’s still perfectly created even if the earth adapted where did the atom come from? Something created this..Unless its all a dream we create what we see somehow in front of ourselves without knowing it..We are all one…And only a few figured this out during the time of Adam decided to quitely create civilization the way they wanted to teach it status etc..God is not visible to the eye which makes him unknown unidentified..There that’s where they are with God..Watching us like Zuis. Really thinking again why would any creature energy want to watch what we do? Its repetitive unfortunately the only thing that could be of interest is creation of something new. It looks like God doesn’t know all if so why even create? If he knows all then he knows the past present and future..What is the point in creating something already knowing the outcome? There must be two..Maybe we are here for harvest..Or just peasants and don’t even realize it..There definitely is another reason..We didn’t just adapt from

  4. If Aliens don’t exist, then I’m wondering just who, or what came to my home in 2010, and 2011, and 2012. 2013, 2014, and 2015? And even 2016, and yes this year. If aliens don’t exist then what do I have, not one, not two, but several pictures of. Oh, I know, Swamp Gas, or just lights in the sky. You tell your people, they’re wrong! There is not only Extraterrestrial life visiting this planet, there is abundant life throughout the Cosmos. Based on what I’ve been able to summarize from their visits. At some point your people need to wake up. There are some magnificent creatures visiting us, and they are doing it in the most unobtrusive way possible. If you really want to now about extraterrestrial life, you can certainly find them, or I should say, they’ll find you. Since 2008, I’ve had hundreds of visits. A few even attempted to communicate with me. Some even left a message for some of you to decipher. But you seem so busy trying to disprove everything, that you don’t have time to actually find something factual. But this is to be expected in this era. The era of Fake News.

  5. Our survey tools are pretty much sticks and stones compared to what they are using if they have faster than light travel, good luck searching in the dark with a rock instead of a flash light.

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