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Seth Shostak
Seth is the Senior Astronomer and Director of the Center for SETI Research at the SETI Institute, in Mountain View, California. He has an undergraduate degree in physics from Princeton University, and a doctorate in astronomy from the California Institute of Technology. For much of his career, Seth conducted radio astronomy research on galaxies, and has published approximately sixty papers in professional journals.

He has written many hundred popular magazine and Web articles on various topics in astronomy, technology, film and television. He lectures on astronomy and other subjects at Stanford and other venues in the Bay Area, and for six years, was a Distinquished Speaker for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Every week he hosts the SETI Institute’s science radio show, “Big Picture Science.”

Seth has edited and contributed to a half dozen books. His most recent tome is Confessions of an Alien Hunter: A Scientist’s Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (National Geographic).

Entries by Seth Shostak

Drone's Eye View of Mars

(30) Comments | Posted May 16, 2016 | 9:18 AM

The easiest way to detect evidence of aliens is straightforward: just scrunch up your eyes and look for it.

In fact, there's a long history to this easy-peasy strategy. Four hundred years ago, Johannes Kepler peered through a low-grade telescope and claimed he saw fortified towns on the moon.

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Will Hillary Clinton Unmask Area 51?

(108) Comments | Posted March 30, 2016 | 11:04 AM

If you're worried about little gray guys with no hair and amygdaloid eyes, Hillary Clinton wants to help. Last week, in an interview with late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel, Clinton said that she planned to follow up on inquiries made years ago by her husband, and bare what the government...

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A Ping from the Cosmos

(21) Comments | Posted February 26, 2016 | 1:08 PM

It's as if someone in a galaxy far, far away rang a loud bell. Could it be a signal from aliens trying to get in touch? Or is it something hitherto unknown, but still completely natural?

The ring came in the form of a fast radio burst (FRB), a...

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Gravity Waves and ET

(72) Comments | Posted February 11, 2016 | 5:04 PM

The other shoe has dropped.

After a century of speculation and a half-century of searching, science teams using instruments built by Caltech and MIT have made a discovery that will take up permanent residency in physics textbooks from now to the end of textbooks. They've found the gravity waves that...

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Goodbye, Little Green Men

(70) Comments | Posted January 28, 2016 | 11:37 PM

They're big-eyed and slight of build. They're the grim, greenish beings that every moviegoer recognizes as aliens -- the inscrutable inhabitants of a distant world. Playing supporting roles in countless films and TV shows, these hairless homunculi have become iconic.

But we've never seen a real alien. Indeed, we don't...

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9번째 행성은 어떤 의미를 갖는가?

(1) Comments | Posted January 26, 2016 | 3:10 PM

170년 만에 처음으로 발견된 새 행성일 수 있다. 명왕성이 행성이라고 우기는 사람들에겐 85년 만이겠지만 말이다.

캘리포니아 공대(칼텍)의 천문학자 마이크 브라운과 콘스탄틴 바티긴
은 외태양계에서 기묘한 움직임을 관측했는데, 태양과 지구의 거리보다 약 500배 먼 궤도를 도는 관측되지 않은 행성에 의한 것으로 보인다.

명왕성과 비슷한, 얼음에 싸인 구체인...

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Planet Nine: What Would It Mean?

(109) Comments | Posted January 21, 2016 | 8:29 PM

It could be the first new planet discovered in the last 170 years -- or at least the last 85, if you're one of those stubborn folk who still insist on calling Pluto a planet.

Two Caltech astronomers, Mike Brown and Konstantin Batygin, have noticed some weird behavior...

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Could This Be Humanity's Last Century?

(67) Comments | Posted January 14, 2016 | 11:35 AM

OK, quick: Name a few important things that happened in the 11th century.

If you're not tenured in medieval studies, that may be tough, although several modestly notable events took place in those hundred years -- for example, the Battle of Hastings and the launch of the Crusades. When we...

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What the Candidates Should Know

(32) Comments | Posted December 9, 2015 | 11:56 AM

"The CDC is well aware that vaccines cause autism," the young woman told me. "They cover it up because of the money."

It's a lament as perennial as the grass: The level of science literacy of the American public is subterranean. People believe strange and irrational things. But the puzzling...

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이 신호는 우주에서 오는 걸까?

(0) Comments | Posted November 11, 2015 | 3:55 PM

KIC 8462852 항성은 이름은 어렵지만, 외계인에 관심이 있는 사람이라면 누구나 이 항성 이야기를 해왔다. 이제 이 별에 대한 새로운 이야깃거리가 생겼다.

몇 주 전, 천문학자 몇 명이 지구에서 1400광년 떨어진 이 별이 간간히 어두워진다는 논문을 발표해서 화제가 되었다. 몇 주 내지 몇 달마다 이 별은 깜박이며 평소의 80% 정도 밝기로...

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Are There Signals Coming from Deep Space?

(210) Comments | Posted November 5, 2015 | 9:59 PM

The star KIC 8462852 may have an unpronounceable name, but just about everyone with an interest in aliens has been talking about it. As of today, they can elaborate their discourse with some new results.

The conversations started about three weeks ago, when a paper written by a small battalion...

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Alien Engineering Around Strange Star?

(50) Comments | Posted October 22, 2015 | 12:45 AM

There's a new big dipper in the nighttime sky.

No, it's not a cozy constellation, but a distant, non-descript star that behaves like a shipboard semaphore, beaming flashes of light into the cosmic darkness that seem random, but may not be.

While the luminous output from everyday stars...

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NASA의 화성 대발견은 무슨 의미일까

(0) Comments | Posted October 10, 2015 | 12:00 PM

NASA가 화성에서 놀라운 발견을 했다며 요란하게 기자 회견을 열 때마다 대중은 물(또?)이나 생명(드디어!)에 대한 소식일 거라 짐작한다.

NASA의 공식 발표는 두 가지 모두에 대한 내용인 동시에 둘 다 아니었다. 그러나 흥미롭다는 사실을 부정할 수는 없다.

크레이터의 화구벽 등의 지형에 RSL(recurrent slope lineae)이라는 계절에 따라 달라지는 것이 관측되었다. 경사면 위에 길고...

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NASA's Big Mars Story

(21) Comments | Posted September 28, 2015 | 1:28 PM

Every time NASA ballyhoos a press conference to announce an exciting discovery about Mars, the public bets heavily that the news will either be about water (What, again?) or life (Finally!)

This week's communique is about both, and neither. But there's no gainsaying the fact that it's exciting.

It concerns...

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UFO 목격담들은 왜 이렇게 진부한가

(0) Comments | Posted September 10, 2015 | 4:29 PM

외계인이 찾아왔다는 주장들에서 내가 주목하는 것은 증거의 너무나 많은 부분이 진부하고 케케묵었다는 점이다.

나는 매일 전세계의 UFO 뉴스를 모으는 사람들로부터 이야기와 기사를 받는다. 하지만 그 중 상당수는 뉴스가 아니라 옛 이야기다. 외계인들이 지구를 방문한다는 훌륭한 증거가 있다고 믿는 사람들은 아직도 1947년의 로스웰 사건과 1980년 영국의 렌들셤 숲 사건에 매달리고 있다....

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UFOs: The Trail Is Stale

(230) Comments | Posted September 1, 2015 | 11:19 AM

One thing that strikes me about claims of alien visitation is that so much of the evidence is musty and fusty.

Every day, I get stories and articles from people around the world who aggregate UFO news. But much of it is not news -- it's olds. The folks...

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혹시 화성인이세요?

(0) Comments | Posted August 25, 2015 | 4:58 PM

당신이 제일 좋아하는 지구인이 동시에 화성인일 수도 있을까?

내가 대신 대답하자면, 답은 '그렇다'이다. 수십억 년 전, 화성에서 미세한 생명의 조각이 떨어져 나와 우리 행성을 감염시켰을 가능성이 있다. 그렇다면 당신 - 그리고 모든 지구 생명 - 의 족보의 가장 깊은 뿌리는 지구의 고대 대양이 아니라, 화성의 사라진 바다 속에 있을 것이다.

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Are You a Martian?

(46) Comments | Posted August 19, 2015 | 1:53 PM

Could your favorite Earthling also be your favorite Martian?

Allow me to respond: The answer is "yes." It's possible that billions of years ago, tiny bits of biology quit the Red Planet and infected ours. If so, your family tree -- and that of every other terrestrial life form --...

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가장 가까운 지구를 찾아서

(0) Comments | Posted August 10, 2015 | 5:58 PM

고속도로 출구를 놓치고 그냥 지나치는 것과 항성계 전체를 태평스럽게 스쳐지나는 것은 좀 다른 문제다.

1960년대 TV의 팬이라면 조금 멍청한 드라마 '로스트 인 스페이스'에서 존 로빈슨 교수의 가족들에게 일어났던 일이 바로 그거라고 기억할지도 모른다. 이 우주 식민지의 선구자들은 '주피터 2'라는 별로 야망없는 이름이 붙은 우주선을 타고 머나먼 우주 속으로 출발한다. 알파...

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The Nearest Earth

(14) Comments | Posted August 6, 2015 | 11:08 AM

It's one thing to miss your exit on the Santa Monica Freeway, but something else to blithely sail past an entire star system.

If you're a fan of 1960s television, you might recall that's exactly what happened to Professor John Robinson and his family in the vaguely imbecilic series,...

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