Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

World's First Dedicated Optical SETI Telescope Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence To Begin

Date:
April 5, 2006
Source:
The Planetary Society
Summary:
After 20 years of listening for signs of life elsewhere in the universe, The Planetary Society is now ready to watch the skies. On April 11, 2006 the Society will dedicate a brand new optical telescope at an observatory in Harvard, Massachusetts, designed solely to search for light signals from alien civilizations -- a search known as Optical SETI (OSETI).

After 20 years of listening for signs of life elsewhere in the universe, The Planetary Society is now ready to watch the skies. On April 11, 2006 the Society will dedicate a brand new optical telescope at an observatory in Harvard, Massachusetts, designed solely to search for light signals from alien civilizations -- a search known as Optical SETI (OSETI).
Credit: Image courtesy of The Planetary Society

After 20 years of listening for signs of life elsewhere in the universe, The Planetary Society is now ready to watch the skies. On April 11, 2006 the Society will dedicate a brand new optical telescope at an observatory in Harvard, Massachusetts, designed solely to search for light signals from alien civilizations -- a search known as Optical SETI (OSETI).

Related Articles


The new telescope will be the first dedicated optical SETI telescope in the world. Its 72-inch primary mirror is larger than any optical telescope in the U.S. east of the Mississippi river.

Under the direction of Harvard University physicist Paul Horowitz and his team, The Planetary Society's new telescope will conduct a year round, all-sky survey, scanning the entire swath of our Milky Way galaxy visible in the northern hemisphere.

"This new search apparatus performs one trillion measurements per second and expands by 100,000-fold the sky coverage of our previous optical search," said Horowitz.

The new optical telescope has been built at the Oak Ridge Observatory, where for many years The Planetary Society has conducted radiotelescope SETI searches with Horowitz -- first with the Mega-channel Extraterrestrial Assay (META) and later the Billion-channel Extraterrestrial Assay (BETA).

Alien civilizations are thought by many to be at least as likely to use visible light signals for communicating as they are to use radio transmissions. Visible light can form tight beams, be incredibly intense, and its high frequencies allow it to carry enormous amounts of information. Using only Earth 2006 technology, a bright tightly focused light beam, such as a laser, can be ten thousand times as bright as its parent star for a brief instant. Such a beam could be easily observed from enormous distances.

"The opening of this telescope represents one of those rare moments in a field of scientific endeavor when a great leap forward is enabled," said Planetary Society Director of Projects Bruce Betts. "Sending laser signals across the cosmos would be a very logical way for E.T. to reach out, but until now, we have been ill equipped to receive any such signal."

The Planetary Society's Optical SETI telescope's custom processors will process the equivalent of all books in print every second. As the telescope scans strips of sky, it employs a custom-built "camera" containing an array of detectors that can detect a billionth-of-a-second flash of light. The telescope will scan the sky every night, weather permitting.

Planetary Society members around the world helped fund the OSETI telescope. Additional major support for the telescope, which is located at the Oak Ridge site of the Harvard College Observatory, came from the Bosack/Kruger Foundation.

Since its founding, the Society has been a leading advocate of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, supporting a wide variety of searches, making use of different approaches. The first META search, which began over 20 years ago, kicked off with a significant donation from Society Board Member Steven Spielberg. Most of the Society-sponsored searches were radio SETI projects. The new observatory is one of the largest SETI projects ever sponsored by The Planetary Society.

Read more at http://planetary.org/programs/projects/seti_optical_searches/.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Planetary Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

The Planetary Society. "World's First Dedicated Optical SETI Telescope Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence To Begin." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 April 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060404205141.htm>.
The Planetary Society. (2006, April 5). World's First Dedicated Optical SETI Telescope Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence To Begin. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060404205141.htm
The Planetary Society. "World's First Dedicated Optical SETI Telescope Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence To Begin." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060404205141.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Rover Finds More Clues About Possible Life On Mars

Rover Finds More Clues About Possible Life On Mars

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) NASA's Curiosity rover detected methane on Mars and organic compounds on the surface, but it doesn't quite prove there was life ... yet. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Evidence of Life on Mars? NASA Rover Finds Methane, Organic Chemicals

Evidence of Life on Mars? NASA Rover Finds Methane, Organic Chemicals

Reuters - US Online Video (Dec. 16, 2014) NASA's Mars Curiosity rover finds methane in the Martian atmosphere and organic chemicals in the planet's soil, the latest hint that Mars was once suitable for microbial life. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Geminids Meteor Shower Lights Up Skies in China

Geminids Meteor Shower Lights Up Skies in China

AFP (Dec. 16, 2014) The Geminids meteor shower lights up the skies over the Changbai Mountains in northeast China. Duration: 01:03 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Defense Satellite Launches from California

Raw: Defense Satellite Launches from California

AP (Dec. 13, 2014) A U.S. defense satellite launched from California's central coast on Friday after weather delays caused by a major storm that drenched the state. (Dec. 13) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins