Feeds

SETI experiment succeeds: fails to find aliens

‘It’s only a model’

Build a business case: developing custom apps

If there are sentient aliens on the “habitable zone” planet circling Gliese 581, they’re not calling out to us. That’s the conclusion of Western Australian astronomers, who have released the results of a targeted SETI-hunt using Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) to sniff out radio signals from the distant red dwarf.

Even without the aliens, however, the experiment was a success. In this paper, soon to be published in the Astronomical Journal, the Curtin University researchers point out that their techniques demonstrate the suitability of VLBI for targeted SETI work – providing a model for how data collected by the South African/Australian Square Kilometer Array could be filtered for “lifelike” signals.

That’s mainly because a VLBI instrument has a key advantage over using a single radio-telescope: it’s easier to identify (and therefore remove) man-made radio frequency interference. Since VLBI uses multiple collectors (in this case, the Parkes radiotelescope, the Mopra array near Narrabri, and the nearby Australia Telescope Compact Array), local interference won’t appear at all antennae at the same time. On the other hand, signals from a distant planet like those circling Gliese 581 will arrive simultaneously at all the instruments.

The Curtin analysis, used 20 hours’ of observations from 2007, looking at the frequency pairs 1,262/1,312 MHz, 1,362/1,412 MHz and 1,462/1,512 MHz, with the data analysed using the AIPS package, along with numpy and the ParselTongue scripting language.

That analysis revealed more than 200 candidate signals; regrettably, all of them came from Optus and Inmarsat satellites. However, as the paper states, this proof of concept demonstrates that “VLBI is ideal for targeted SETI”. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
Shanghai to San Fran in two hours would be a trick, though
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.