September 25, 2022

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SETI Research Science and Techniques Presented at IAC2022

Among the various conferences and presentations during IAC2022, there was also space to talk about the SETI (Shortcut for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) program. SETI project dedicated to The search for extraterrestrial intelligent life has fully developed To be able to send radio signals to the universe. It is also interested in sending signals of our existence on Earth in deep space, with the ambition of reaching other civilizations capable of receiving and understanding them. From this program, the SETI Institute was born in the 1970s.

Proposed by Frank Drake, the SETI Institute is a private science organization headquartered in Mountain View, California. Below we see some of the presentations made at IAC2022 regarding the current and future steps of SETI research.

The Breakthrough Listen project and the search for intelligent life

Are we alone in the universe, as intelligent life? SETI’s search for technical cues, as remotely observable indicators of advanced extraterrestrial life, has been trying to answer that question for years. In this regard, the international project listening hack Conducts the most targeted SETI research for extraterrestrial intelligence. It does this through radio and optical surveys of stars, nearby galaxies, and the galactic plane of the Milky Way.

Recently, Breakthrough Listen partnered with the SETI Development Institute SETI search capabilities on some of the most sensitive radio interferometers, Including the Very Large Array (VLA) in New Mexico and the Meerkat in South Africa. During her presentation, researcher Cherry Ng from the University of Toronto in Canada talked about the latest developments in the matter. Interferometry radio telescopes have advantages:

  • Provide a wider field of view.
  • Maximize SETI scanning speed.
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As for Meerkat, Dr. Ng stated that SETI research will begin next year (2023) and will allow monitoring More than a million stars nearby. Moreover, it will be very useful to understand how SETI research is also conducted using new generation tools such as Square Kilometer Array (SKA), under construction in Australia and South Africa, and Next Generation VLA (ngVLA).

Researcher Cherry Ng presents her study during IAC2022. Image credits:

Abstract of the paper by dtt.essa Ng has been accepted for publication in natural astronomyAvailable over here.

Automation and target selection for SETI observation

Arrays of radio telescopes provide exciting opportunities for SETI investigations. The Ethernet-based architectural approaches adopted by MeerKAT, VLA and Allen Telescope Array allow multiple monitors to receive data same time. Breakthrough Listen therefore performs an automated SETI scan in MeerKAT, directly on the raw data streams. It will then perform:

  1. The computer process is called ray (consistent and inconsistent) in voltage mode.
  2. In the coherent mode, the beams mounted on objects of interest will be formed within the telescope’s primary field of view.

Talking about new information regarding target selection for SETI researcher Daniel Cheek of the University of Berkeley, California. the dtt. The Czechs explained that most of the objects to be observed would be chosen from a group 26 million stars from Gaia DR2 (European Space Agency’s penultimate catalog of Gaia).

A reconfigurable processing pipeline will perform a SETI search on each packet’s data. Since the account on the site is limited, it is possible Forming and processing a limited number of packages simultaneously. All available stars or a subset of them will be observed, depending on the number of stars in the primary field of view and the duration of the primary target. The Target stars will be selected After this list of operations:

  • Receive a new target list request.
  • Estimate the current field of view based on the frequency of observation.
  • Search the database for desired targets among those within the current field of view.
  • Calculation of priority order (distance, previous notes in different ranges…).
  • Rewrite as JSON
  • Post a final operations message indicating the availability of new targets.
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Next steps, dtt explains. Czech, it will maintain awareness of past observations, interact with the entire Breakthrough Listen database of notes, perform priority calculations of targets, and adapt to target selector.

Daniel Czech
Researcher Daniel Cheek presents the latest findings of his research group during IAC2022. Image credits:

Article by dtt. The Czechs and colleagues, published on Pacific Astronomical SocietyAvailable over here.

Find SETI signatures in TESS targets

As part of its broader mission, the Breakthrough Listen initiative is collaborating with scientists working on NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) to examine an intriguing TESS target (TOI) for technical signals. (Technical signatures In English).

During his presentation, researcher Noah Franks from Berkeley City Research Center, USA presented a report titled rFind radio signals at 1-11 GHz from TOI 61 by TESSwho were in transit while observing Breakthrough Listen at the Robert C. Bird Green Bank Telescope.

The researchers conducted research on Doppler drift Narrowband (differences in the Doppler effect caused by the movement of distant or near celestial bodies), in which radio frequency interference has been removed. Then they compared the signals between the rhythm of the target sources. After removing the interference, There are no longer any signs of technological interest. This zero result indicates that in the L, S, C, and X bands, less than 52%, 20%, 16% and 15%, respectively, of TESS TOI possess a transmitter with cadence and power attributable to radio signals coming from intelligent life.

the dtt. Franz stated that the next steps would consist in observing the exoplanets not only during the transit, but also in the initial and final phase or immediately after the transit itself. In this way, perhaps, it will be possible to capture less noise coming from the star and deepen the details of the study.

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Noah Franks
Researcher Noah Franks presents SETI research findings with TESS goals to the public during IAC2022. Image credits:

DTT article. Franz and colleagues, for publication on Astronomical Journalit exists over here.

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