A teacher recently told me that in order to have hopes of detecting Kaluza-Klein type spin 2 particles we would have to have an accelerator as big as the solar system.

This is (nowadays) of course out of reach for humans, but for the sake of argument let's think that some more technologically advanced alien civilization can. Let's think that they are performing high energy experiments somewhere in this hypothetical huge accelerator.

This accelerator would emit synchrotron radiation which prompts my question, could we, by detecting this synchrotron radiation, be able to guess that this is a signature of a high energy experiment being performed by someone or is this totally hopeless?


I don't think so. There's all kinds of polarized radiation sources all over the spectrum in the universe and known to astronomers, from masers (the astronomy ones, but a similar question could be if we could detect high energy emissions of masers of the other kind, that could be used as source of microwave beam-powered propulsion), magnetars splitting and merging x-rays and polarizing its surroundings in the process, and so on. And there's plenty of other naturally occurring astronomical radio sources too, that could easily mask any polarized sources and convert it all into unstructured white noise.

So unless these synchrotron radiation sources exhibit some other distinct and indisputably intelligent design characteristics (i.e. they would be intentionally used to transmit their location, as a sort of a beacon, perhaps repeating a sequence of prime numbers or alike), they could be easily lost to background noise or dismissed as a natural source. To my knowledge, nobody is (currently) explicitly looking at polarized radiation sources with intention of discovering high energy technosignatures.

But since such source radiation would be neither narrow beam nor capable of high bandwidth communications due to its sheer required size stretching several light hours, it wouldn't make much sense to use it as anything else but a beacon anyway. And, as far as we know, we might have already detected just that in the so-called Oh-My-God particles, it would just be a bit of a stretch drawing such vast conclusions from half-vast data, to quote Jerry R. Ehman, the person that discovered the Wow! signal and famously circled the data print-out and wrote Wow! next to it. They might just as well be emissions of a perfectly natural process that we don't yet fully understand.

  • $\begingroup$ Please elaborate, why you think it will not be "narrow beam". $\endgroup$ – Kamen N. Jan 11 '16 at 10:05
  • $\begingroup$ @KamenN. I thought because of bremsstrahlung and uncertainty in deflection angle of charged particles propagating radially at an increasing angle as they interact with matter and at distances involved. E.g. Messier 87's jet seems narrow beam enough up to a certain point, then gradually increases divergence angle before it exits the galaxy (we see just the interaction byproducts in EM emissions of hot ionized gas). Why did you put narrow beam in quotation marks? It's a perfectly valid term. $\endgroup$ – TildalWave Jan 11 '16 at 17:18
  • $\begingroup$ @TidalWave Wouldn't it be likely that if such apparatus is operational, the EM energy will not scatter spherically , but more like being produced by a directional antenna (with high coefficient). The reason for this is to my knowledge these accelerators should focus focus the particles to particular direction - where the detector is. So isn't it likely we will get a sufficiently narrow beam, with very different characteristics (experiments may occur at fixed time intervals) compared to the other, natural radiation sources? $\endgroup$ – Kamen N. Jan 11 '16 at 22:29

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