Fredagskollokvium: The “Vanishing & Appearing Sources during a Century of Observations” (VASCO) project
Beatríz Villarroel, Uppsala University
Traditional Searches for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) use large radio telescopes to look for artificial signals from specific stars. In the era of large astronomical surveys, it is now possible to efficiently search for objects having certain predicted signatures of astro-engineering, like Dyson spheres. However, these signatures ("artifacts") can often be confused with signatures from natural astrophysical sources e.g. dust. In this talk, I present an international, cross-disciplinary project between IT researchers and astronomers, the "Vanishing and Appearing Sources during a Century of Observations" (VASCO) project, where we scan the sky for objects that have physically disappeared from (or appeared on) the sky during the last decades. I will present the background of the project, the pilot paper and discuss the ongoing work. We aim to identify interesting astrophysical targets for follow-up analysis with extreme, exotic or bizarre patterns of variability.