VASCO citizen science

Dear friends,

The Corona virus is spreading all over the world. Many institutes have been physically closed, so that we all have to work on distance (while the Internet works). The situation is hard everywhere.

In the last months, we have been working on preparing the citizen science project. In particular our IT experts, led by Kristiaan Pelckmans, have made a fantastic work in making it happen through the development of the citizen science interface and infrastructure. Our plan was to start up the citizen science project with a number of schools and amateur societies in order to test our project design and see what kind of results that we get. Unfortunately, with the corona outbreak we cannot follow this path now as many schools have closed.

We therefore are opening up the citizen science project in its experimental stage to everybody to participate. All you need, is a web browser. We hope you will enjoy it. 

The link to the citizen science project, in English and French, can be found here:

https://vasconsite.wordpress.com/ml-blink-2/

A short video greeting from myself, can be found here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvB5y292qYA

Stay safe and healthy!

Beatriz.

VASCO citizen science

Happy New Year!

Dear friends and followers of VASCO,

The New Year is here and so is the time of new hopes and dreams. Our wishes are now to set up the citizen science project as needed, and we are working hard to realise this as soon as possible. As some may have noticed, there has been lots of media news about the VASCO project lately. We appreciate very much the positive response we have got and the interest into the project. We remind the readers that we believe the ~100 transients reported in our first VASCO paper most likely represent very natural short-lived phenomena, such as big M dwarf flares, high-z supernovae and other astrophysical transients. That doesn’t make us less excited to follow up on them and trying to figure out what they actually are — astronomy is full of natural wonders. The introduction in our paper in the Astronomical Journal gives a thorough view of many natural phenomena one can camouflage as “vanished” stars in the VASCO project. With this being said, we will carefully investigate *all* possible explanations for each candidate we find in our project.

We attach some helpful links below and wish everybody a Happy New Year 2020! We stay in touch.

Original article in Astronomical Journal:

https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.3847/1538-3881/ab570f

Original press releases

https://www.iac.es/en/outreach/news/sources-light-which-appear-and-disappear-observed-sky

https://www.su.se/english/research/research-news/short-lived-light-sources-discovered-in-the-sky-1.475666?cache=%2Fcourses-programmes%2Fphd-studies

//Beatriz

 

Happy New Year!

VASCO in The Astronomical Journal

Dear all,
It is our pleasure to announce the first VASCO paper. It has just been accepted to the Astronomical Journal and can be found on arxiv.org:

In this paper, we discuss how VASCO can help to identify objects that satisfy some typical ET techno-signatures like vanishing stars, Dyson spheres and interstellar laser communication, but also how it can help traditional astrophysics in finding interesting or weird objects and events displaying strong changes in brightness. We present the discovery of ~100 very short lived or very red transients.
VASCO in The Astronomical Journal

Article about VASCO in Forskning & Framsteg, Vol 6 2018

innehal

In the early spring, we were interviewed

about VASCO for the Swedish popular science journal, “Forskning & Framsteg” for its June issue. You can currently buy it in Pressbyrån in Sweden or online (at http://fof.prenservice.se/KodLandning/Index/?Internetkod=057-0571311&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI1PGSw46G3AIVkYKyCh35nAC4EAAYASAAEgI6J_D_BwE).

You can also read an online version: (link: https://fof.se/tidning/2018/6/artikel/jakten-efter-forsvunna-stjarnor)

— Beatriz Villarroel

Article about VASCO in Forskning & Framsteg, Vol 6 2018

What Drake’s equation says about the nature of probability

Drake’s equation (i.e. a decomposition of the probability that alien life must exist as a chain of conditional probabilities which sound more reasonable. After a beer or two. Or three) makes an interesting case for thinking about the nature of probabilities. What do we mean really when saying ‘those aliens must in all likelihood exist‘? No way it can point to a relative frequency. Maybe a propensity interpretation? But statements as ‘they tend to exist‘ make not much sense either. The only viable option – as far as I can see – is that evidence suggested by Drake should be in the eye of the beholder. Subjective. Belief-based. Bayes. In the good ol’ De Finetti sense. Earthlings and any alien civilisation far far away must be exchangeable. We are as curious for them as they for us. This seems a solid foundation for educated guessing about this.

-Kristiaan

What Drake’s equation says about the nature of probability