Stars searched for extraterrestrials

February 19, 2006

A U.S. astronomer has announced her shortlist of stars where extraterrestrial life might be found.

Of an initial 17,129 "habitable stellar systems" that astronomer Margaret Turnbull, of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, and her colleagues published in 2003, Turnbull has selected a handful of stars that she considers her best bets.

She announced her list of so-called "habstars" at the 2006 Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in St. Louis.

Turnbull offered five top candidate stars for those seeking only to listen for radio signals from intelligent civilizations and five candidates for those who undertake the demanding job of trying to detect Earth-like planets in orbit around nearby stars.

Turnbull's top candidate star for radio scans is beta CVn, a sun-like star about 26 light-years away in the constellation Canes Venatici -- the Hound Dogs.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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