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Aliens could map the Earth based on cell phone towers

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Mobile phones are so ubiquitous that we no longer think about how
they work. The key to their operation is the sheer number of radio
transmission towers.

These
cell towers cover a large percentage of the earth’s surface, especially
in densely populated areas, and they constantly transmit microwave
signals. Considering that all these cell towers are emitting all these
radio signals, it’s a funny question whether these signals can be
detected by an alien civilization.

The answer to this question was recently published
in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. The article
talks about how radio signals entering space have changed over time.

In
the 20th century, the bulk of radio broadcasts were from commercial
radio and television stations. Now these transmissions are negligible
compared to mobile communications. Military radar transmissions are
still the most powerful source of radio leakage from Earth, but cell
towers are now in second place.

Each
cell tower emits a radio signal with a power of 100-200 watts. Given
the number of towers and the amount of radio leakage, this amounts to
several gigawatts radiated into space. If we assume that an alien
civilization has advanced radio astronomy, then our transmissions should
be detected within a dozen light years or so.

But it depends on
where the aliens are. Cell towers radiate most of their radio signal
power parallel to the Earth’s surface, so the tower’s signal is
strongest when it’s going up or down.

And since most of the towers
are in the northern hemisphere, an alien star in the northern
hemisphere will receive a stronger signal than a star from the southern
hemisphere.

Another complication is that all the signals from the
towers are different, and they overlap each other in such a way that an
alien civilization would not be able to distinguish any specific
messages.

You
don’t have to worry about aliens listening in on your private phone
calls. But they could still use the signals to learn some interesting
things about Earth.

Since the distribution of towers roughly
corresponds to the distribution of our population, aliens could measure
the Earth’s rotation and axial tilt. They would also have a measure of
the distribution of land on Earth, and over time they could study how
our population is distributed.

As an example, the team simulated
the signals seen from three nearby stars. Alpha Centauri is in the
southern hemisphere, but only 4 light years away, so it should be
receiving a tangible signal from us.

Barnard’s Star (6 light years
away) and HD 95735 (8 light years away) are in the northern hemisphere
and could also receive good radio data from Earth. All three of these
star systems are known to have planets, although none of them has a
potentially habitable world.

As
humanity transitions to more advanced mobile technologies such as 5G,
tower signals will become even stronger, meaning more nearby stars will
“see” the signal from Earth. It’s only a matter of time before our phone
signals reach and touch alien intelligences.

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Space

There’s one last place Planet Nine could be hiding

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A study recently submitted to The Astronomical Journal
continues to search for the elusive Planet Nine (also called Planet X),
which is a hypothetical planet that potentially orbits in the outer
reaches of the solar system and well beyond the orbit of the dwarf
planet, Pluto.

The goal of this study, which is available on the pre-print server arXiv,
was to narrow down the possible locations of Planet Nine and holds the
potential to help researchers better understand the makeup of our solar
system, along with its formation and evolutionary processes. So, what
was the motivation behind this study regarding narrowing down the
location of a potential Planet 9?

Dr. Mike Brown, who is a Richard and Barbara Rosenberg Professor of
Astronomy at Caltech and lead author of the study, tells Universe Today,
“We are continuing to try to systematically cover all of the regions of
the sky where we predict Planet Nine to be. Using data from Pan-STARRS
allowed us to cover the largest region to date.”

Pan-STARRS, which stands for Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid
Response System, is a collaborative astronomical observation system
located at Haleakala Observatory and operated by the University of
Hawai’i Institute of Astronomy. For the study, the researchers used data
from Data Release 2 (DR2) with the goal of narrowing down the possible
location of Planet Nine based on findings from past studies.

In the end, the team narrowed down possible locations of Planet Nine
by eliminating approximately 78% of possible locations that were
calculated from previous studies. Additionally, the researchers also
provided new estimates for the approximate semimajor axis (measured in
astronomical units, AU) and Earth-mass size of Planet Nine at 500 and
6.6, respectively. So, what are the most significant results from this
study, and what follow-up studies are currently being conducted or
planned?

“While I would love to say that the most significant result
was finding Planet Nine, we didn’t,” Dr. Brown tells Universe Today. “So
instead, it means that we have significantly narrowed the search area.
We’ve now surveyed approximately 80% of the regions where we think
Planet Nine might be.”

In terms of follow-up studies, Dr.
Brown tells Universe Today, “I think that the LSST is the most likely
survey to find Planet Nine. When it comes online in a year or two it
will quickly cover much of the search space and, if Planet Nine is
there, find it.”

LSST stands for Legacy Survey of Space and Time, and is an
astronomical survey currently scheduled as a 10-year program to study
the southern sky and take place at the Vera C. Rubin Observatory in
Chile, which is presently under construction.

Objectives for LSST include studying identifying near-Earth asteroids
(NEAs) and small planetary bodies within our solar system, but also
include deep space studies, as well. These include investigating the
properties of dark matter and dark energy and the evolution of the Milky
Way galaxy. But what is the importance of finding Planet Nine?

Dr. Brown tells Universe Today, “This would be the 5th
largest planet of our solar system and the only one with a mass between
Earth and Uranus. Such planets are common around other stars, and we
would suddenly have a chance to study one in our own solar system.”

Scientists began hypothesizing the existence of Planet Nine shortly
after the discovery of Neptune in 1846, including an 1880 memoir
authored by D. Kirkwood and later a 1946 paper authored by American
astronomer, Clyde Tombaugh, who was responsible for discovering Pluto in
1930.

More recent studies include studies from 2016 and 2017 presenting
evidence for the existence of Planet Nine, the former of which was
co-authored by Dr. Brown.

This most recent study marks the
most complete investigation of narrowing down the location of Planet
Nine, which Dr. Brown has long-believed exists, telling Universe Today,
“There are too many separate signs that Planet Nine is there. The solar
system is very difficult to understand without Planet Nine.”

He continues by telling Universe Today that “…Planet Nine explains
many things about orbits of objects in the outer solar system that would
be otherwise unexplainable and would each need some sort of separate
explanation.”

“The cluster of the directions of the orbits is the best know, but
there is also the large perihelion distances of many objects, existence
of highly inclined and even retrograde objects, and the high abundance
of very eccentric orbits which cross inside the orbit of Neptune. None
of these should happen in the solar system, but all are easily
explainable as an effect of Planet Nine.”

More information:
Michael E. Brown et al, A Pan-STARRS1 Search for Planet Nine, arXiv (2024). DOI: 10.48550/arxiv.2401.17977

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‘October Surprise’: Russia To Launch Nukes in Space

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The ‘national security threat’ announced on Wednesday is
about Russia planning to launch nuclear weapons in space, causing some
to speculate whether it’s really an election year ploy.

The panic began when House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Turner
(R-Ohio) asked President Biden to declassify information about a
“serious national security threat”.

Modernity.news reports: The weapon would reportedly be designed to be used to take out satellites.

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) responded by telling reporters he wanted “to assure the American people, there is no need for public alarm.”

The big, scary threat is serious business and involves a space-based nuke controlled by evil dictator Putin, but it’s also “not an immediate crisis,” according to what three members of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee have told Politico.

Okay, then. Just for election season, is it?

Zero Hedge reports: “So, the question is – was this:

a) a distraction from Biden’s broken brain, or

2) a last desperate attempt to get more funding for anything-but-the-US-border, or

iii) a path to pitching Putin as the uber-bad-guy again after his interview with Tucker Carlson.”

Just by coincidence, Mike Turner recently returned from Ukraine having lobbied for billions more in weapons and aid for Zelensky’s government.

Some questioned the timing, suggesting it might all be a deep state plot to keep American voters afraid when they hit the ballot box.

Speculation will now rage as to whether this is “the event,” real or imagined, that billionaires and elitists the world over have been building underground survival bunkers in preparation for.

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