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I was going through the official SETI website, when I came across this article on the same website which said :

Today, the SETI Institute uses a specially designed instrument for its SETI efforts – the Allen Telescope Array (ATA) located in the Cascade Mountains of California. The ATA is embarking upon a two-year survey of tens of thousands of red dwarf stars, which have many characteristics that make them prime locales in the search for intelligent life.

The part that I was not able to understand was : The ATA is embarking upon a two-year survey of tens of thousands of red dwarf stars, which have many characteristics that make them prime locales in the search for intelligent life.

So my question is : Why is the SETI survey limited to only Red Dwarf Stars? Is there something special about them that I seem to be missing?

Also, is this survey still active?

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Sun-like yellow dwarf stars are generally thought to be the best places for intelligent life to develop, if only because 100% of known life is in orbit about a yellow dwarf. Larger, brighter stars don't last long enough for intelligence to evolve and red dwarf stars were thought to be too prone to solar flares.

However yellow dwarf stars are relatively rare, and the nearby ones have already been investigated. Red dwarfs are far more common and so there are far more red dwarf stars in our neighbourhood, and perhaps solar flares are not as much of a problem as we previously thought. So current investigations are focussing on those red-dwarfs that had previously been excluded.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks @JamesK! Another question on your answer - In your answer you said that Red Dwarfs were too prone to Solar Flares, and they were excluded in previous investigations. Are they the only stars that are left to be investigated in our stellar neighbourhood? $\endgroup$ – AyushBhatt Sep 19 at 13:34
  • $\begingroup$ I guess you can divide stars into "smaller than the sun" "about the same as the sun" "bigger than the sun", "old bloated stars" and remnants. Stellar remnants are not places to find life, nor are old bloated stars. Stars bigger than the sun use their fuel to quickly to intelligent life to develop (and they are rare). Stars the same as the sun have all been investigated.... so that leaves "stars smaller than the sun" ie red dwarfs. $\endgroup$ – James K Sep 19 at 16:27
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, that explains it. $\endgroup$ – AyushBhatt Sep 20 at 2:15

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