ISCID News Editor
Member # 1417
posted 20. November 2005 09:18
SETI Sets its Sights on M Dwarfs
by Henry Bortman
Source: NASA Astrobiology Magazine
Summary (Nov 17, 2005): More than half the stars in our galaxy are small, dim M dwarfs. Until recently, scientists believed these stars put out too little light to support life on any planets that orbited them. But at a recent workshop held at the SETI Institute, a multidisciplinary group of researchers concluded not only that M dwarfs might host habitable planets^, but that they might also be good targets in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.
Astronomers classify stars according to their surface temperature. The sun is a G-class star. SETI searches to date have focused on G stars and stars that are either somewhat hotter than the sun (F stars) or somewhat cooler than the sun (K stars). That has yielded a catalog of about a quarter of a million target stars. According to conventional astronomical wisdom, stars hotter than F-class would burn out too quickly for intelligent life to develop on planets that orbit them. Historically, M-dwarf stars, which are dimmer than K stars, also have been dismissed as potential SETI targets.
[ 20. November 2005, 09:44: Message edited by: ISCID News Editor ]