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Weekly Space Hangout

Oct 29, 2022

As we discover new exoplanets on an almost daily basis - particularly now that JWST is online - scientists are ramping up their research into identifying those planets that may exhibit traces of life (as we know it.) Scientists use spectrographs to examine the composition of these exoplanet atmospheres looking markers called technosignatures - trace elements that may be indicative of life. What constitutes a technosignature? Does the presence of one or more technosignatures mean that an exoplanet is a strong candidate for hosting life? Can atmospheric markers not included in our current list of technosignatures still be indicative of life, just not as we know it? This week, we welcome Dr. Sofia Sheikh from the SETI Institute to discuss how the ATA is playing an instrumental role in this research.

Dr. Sofia Z. Sheikh is a radio astronomer and astrobiologist working at the SETI Institute. She obtained her undergraduate degrees in physics and astronomy at UC Berkeley, and has recently returned to the Bay Area with an NSF-ASCEND Postdoctoral Fellowship after getting her PhD in Astronomy and Astrobiology at Penn State. Currently, she is performing SETI searches and studying pulsars and fast radio bursts with the Allen Telescope Array, a 42-dish radio array located in Hat Creek, California.

You can learn more about the Allen Telescope Array (ATA) by visiting their website.


Cover image/file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license ( File name: Technosignatures.jpg; Study name: "Searching for technosignatures in exoplanetary systems with current and future missions" Study/source: Authors of the study: Jacob Haqq-Misraa, Edward W. Schwieterman, Hector Socas-Navarro, Ravi Kopparapu, Daniel Angerhausen, Thomas G. Beatty, Svetlana Berdyugina, Ryan Felton, Siddhant Sharmaa, Gabriel G. De la Torre, Dániel Apai, TechnoClimes 2020 workshop participants


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