OUR SKY NOW AND THEN: SEARCHES FOR LOST STARS AND IMPOSSIBLE EFFECTS AS PROBES OF ADVANCED EXTRATERRESTRIAL CIVILIZATIONS
Villarroel et al
Searches for extraterrestrial intelligence using large survey data often look for possible signatures of astroengineering. We propose searching for physically impossible effects caused by highly advanced technology by carrying out a search for disappearing galaxies and Milky Way stars. We select ~10 million objects from USNO-B1.0 with low proper motions (μ < 20 mas yr−1) imaged on the sky in two epochs. We search for objects not found at the expected positions in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) by visually examining images of ~290,000 USNO-B1.0 objects with no counterpart in the SDSS. We identify some spurious targets in the USNO-B1.0. We find one candidate of interest for follow-up photometry, although it is very uncertain. If the candidate eventually is found, it defines the probability of observing a disappearing-object event in the last decade to less than one in one million in the given samples. Nevertheless, because the complete USNO-B1.0 data set is 100 times larger than any of our samples, we propose an easily accessible citizen science project in search of USNO-B1.0 objects that have disappeared from the SDSS.