Could we detect evidence of civilisation on the night side of a transiting planet?

25 April 2012

Question

Hi Chris,

Im no scientist, but still imfasinated by space and physics.One of myinterests is exoplanets and the search for extraterestial life and i have a couple of ideas ive never heard mentioned you could give me some thoughts on if you have the time.

As an exoplanet passes between us and its parent star a small drop in the light from the star is observed from what i can gather. Being as the side of the planet we could see would be the night time side could we ever observe an intelligent life forms street lights as we can from satelite images of the Earth at night or possibly an increase in the wavelegnth of the sodium light signature assuming they use the same lights as us?

Thanks for your help and all yourexcellent bbc podcasts!!!

Andy Masters

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