obvs wrote:That seems reasonable, and very interesting.DEyncourt wrote: While this is unlikely, in order to rule out ALL possibilities the astronomers who spotted this odd star have asked that some time at the SETI project be devoted to this star.
On this week's The Skeptics Guide to the Universe (a weekly podcast that I highly recommend for anyone interested in science), the hosts pointed out that they had asked Seth Shostak (the senior astronomer of SETI) in an interview a while back if SETI could be used for such alien intelligence detection, and he basically said "no" because SETI is a rather blunt instrument. For true detection Shostak thought that a radio observatory dedicated SOLELY for observations of a particular target star system would be required. So that request to SETI may be more in the nature of "this is what we can ask for" as opposed to being a definitive way of finding out if an alien intelligence may be at work in this star system.
There are other problems:
1) While the radio band is useful to use since it generally would not be interfered with by MOST emanations from most stars, there is no guarantee that it will be in constant use once it is figured out by any civilization. Even our own has indications that perhaps within the next 50 years or less most or all of the radio and TV broadcast stations will be shutdown in favor of their equivalents via cable and the Internet, so it may be that there is only a relatively short period of a century or two when such detections can be useful.
2) It may be that happenstance will find that an alien civilization will use another means for ground-to-spaceship communications other than radio. Say, they might discover masers ("lasers" that use the microwave band) early on and use that instead.
3) Perhaps an alien civilization will luck into some form of communication which would have considerable advantages over radio such as being (nearly) instantaneous (yeah, that would break relativity so unlikely but not outside of possible) or being all-but-unblockable (say, neutrino-based which has LOTS of problems from the human point-of-view such as a predictable way of generating/directing neutrinos and of intercepting them, but that may just be lack of imagination on our part).