A top space scientist has claimed that he knows the best spots to look for alien life.
In a paper last month, he argued that recent improvements in telescope tech mean we can now easily identify alien outposts.
Prof. Zuckerman’s controversial theory assumes the existence of Dyson Spheres, which experts have been hunting for for decades.
They’re theoretical structures which could be built by extra-terrestrials around a star in order to harvest its energy.
Of course, a Dyson Sphere has never been found, and there’s no proof they exist.
If they do, however, the structures would be a distinctive characteristic of an intelligent civilisation able to harness the resources of a planetary system.
Zuckerman, a former UCLA professor who has published hundreds of papers and books, believes that white dwarfs represent our best chance of finding one.
That’s because the enormous contraptions would change the infrared signatures of the stars, making them easy to locate.
White dwarves are fairly ubiquitous in our galaxy, Prof. Zuckerman said, and emit plenty of heat.
That heat could potentially be absorbed by a Dyson Sphere structure and power an alien civilisation, he claimed.
The astronomer argues that infrared data already collected by recent satellites could be scanned for signs of alien life.
Those satellites include the Spitzer, WISE, TESS and Kepler telescopes.
“It has been hypothesized that advanced technological civilizations will construct giant space colonies and supporting infrastructures to orbit about their home stars,” Prof. Zuckerman wrote.
“With data from recent satellites … it is now possible to begin to constrain observationally the frequency of such space-based civilizations in our Milky Way Galaxy.”
The scientist made some calculations as to how many alien civilizations might be out there.
He believes that fewer than three percent of habitable planets that orbit sun-like stars host life that has built a Dyson Sphere.
That still leaves us with a few million to look out for, should his hair-brained theory prove correct.
Prof. Zuckerman is no stranger to controversy, having previously weighed in on the topic of extraterrestrials.
His paper is likely to stir debate among astronomers, plenty of whom argue that Dyson Spheres don’t exist as they simply wouldn’t work.
For now, Dyson Spheres remain firmly in the realm of fiction.
They’ve shown up in films including “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Elysium,” as well as the TV show “Star Trek”.
The research was published in the pre-print journal Arxiv.
Join our list
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.