If you have ever wondered about other civilizations in the Universe, now is the time to transform your curiosity into an action plan. How can we find alien civilizations and communicate with them? What would we say in our messages? What effect would it have on our own civilization?

We started by studying the requirements for life. Now we investigate where those civilizations might be in the Galaxy and think about time spans for communicating over such immense distances. That brings us to the requirement of longevity: both civilizations have to persist long enough to send and receive messages. How can we insure that our civilization lasts long enough to get a reply?

To make it happen we make a plan. First, we discuss our ideas with our peers, and then we devise activities and schedules to bring those ideas into reality. We decide when, where, how, why, who, and what. We write up our plan. We present it to the world for consideration.

This should give you something to think about while you are observing the Moon and stars this week. Now that we are seasoned observers, it is time to make some measurements. Let's see just how big an effect the Moon has on our viewing by noting the dimmest stars still visible with the bright sky background from the Moon's light. We will use magnitudes to measure brightness, something astronomers have done for thousands of years.

 

ASTR 1050 Week 3 Agenda

Objectives

  • Discuss why and how we should communicate with extraterrestrial civilizations

  • Create a written plan for communicating with extraterrestrial civilizations

  • Observe the full Moon and measure its effects on the sky background brightness

Warm weather, or the “January thaw” as my mother called it in my youth, might make observing more pleasant this week, at least until the snow and cold returns toward the end of the week. Let us take advantage of it for several of our activities: