SCIPP physicist David Williams will help lead effort using four 12-meter telescopes to search for nanosecond flashes of light from extraterrestrial civilizations
The Breakthrough Listen initiative to find signs of intelligent life in the universe will collaborate with the VERITAS Collaboration in the search for technosignatures, signs of technology developed by intelligent life beyond the Earth.
Joining the Breakthrough Listen initiative’s ongoing radio frequency survey and spectroscopic optical laser survey, VERITAS (the Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System) will search for pulsed optical beacons with its array of four 12-meter telescopes at the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory in Amado, Arizona.
VERITAS is the world’s most powerful telescope array for studying high-energy astrophysics with gamma rays. It detects gamma rays coming from space by looking for the extremely brief flashes of blue “Cherenkov” light they create when they hit the top of the Earth’s atmosphere.
VERITAS will look for pulsed optical beacons with durations as short as several nanoseconds. Over such timescales, artificial beacons could easily outshine any stars that lie in the same direction on the sky. The use of all four telescopes simultaneously allows for very effective discrimination against false positive detections. The VERITAS Collaboration has previously published observations of the mysteriously dimming Boyajian’s Star in search of such optical pulses. The new program of VERITAS observations will provide complementary searches for optical pulse signatures of many more stars from the primary Breakthrough Listen star list.
“It is impressive how well-suited the VERITAS telescopes are for this project, since they were built only with the purpose of studying very-high-energy gamma rays in mind,” said David Williams, adjunct professor of physics at UC Santa Cruz and the Santa Cruz Institute for Particle Physics (SCIPP) and a member of the VERITAS collaboration.
Breakthrough Listen’s search for optical technosignatures with VERITAS will be led by Williams at UCSC and Jamie Holder of the University of Delaware, in collaboration with the Listen team at UC Berkeley’s SETI Research Center led by Andrew Siemion.
“When it comes to intelligent life beyond Earth, we don’t know where it exists or how it communicates,” said Yuri Milner, founder of the Breakthrough Initiatives. “So our philosophy is to look in as many places, and in as many ways, as we can. VERITAS expands our range of observation even further.”
“Breakthrough Listen is already the most powerful, comprehensive, and intensive search yet undertaken for signs of intelligent life beyond Earth,” Siemion said. “Now, with the addition of VERITAS, we’re sensitive to an important new class of signals: fast optical pulses. Optical communication has already been used by NASA to transmit high definition images to Earth from the moon, so there’s reason to believe that an advanced civilization might use a scaled-up version of this technology for interstellar communication.”
If a laser comparable to the most powerful lasers on Earth (delivering about 500 terawatts in a pulse lasting a few nanoseconds) were situated at the distance of Boyajian’s Star and pointed in our direction, VERITAS could detect it. But most of the stars in the Listen target list are 10 to 100 times closer than Boyajian’s Star, meaning that the new search will be sensitive to pulses a factor 100 to 10,000 times fainter still.
“Using the huge mirror area of the four VERITAS telescopes will allow us to search for these extremely faint optical flashes in the night sky, which could correspond to signals from an extraterrestrial civilization,” said Holder.
The Latest on: Search for extraterrestrial intelligence
[google_news title=”” keyword=”search for extraterrestrial intelligence” num_posts=”10″ blurb_length=”0″ show_thumb=”left”]
via Google News
The Latest on: Search for extraterrestrial intelligence
- Astrophysicist Avi Loeb Explores the Possibility of Proof for Extraterrestrial Lifeon November 29, 2023 at 4:37 pm
The search for extraterrestrial life has captured the human ... As the alien hunter continues to scrutinise the cosmos for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence, the scientific community and the ...
- Oxford University Joins Breakthrough Prize Foundation in Quest for Extraterrestrial Lifeon November 27, 2023 at 2:21 pm
Oxford will be the international headquarters for the Breakthrough Listen initiative, the largest ever astronomical programme searching for ‘technosignatures’ - evidence of past or present technology ...
- 'Are we alone?': $200 million gift from late tech mogul to fund search for extraterrestrial lifeon November 15, 2023 at 5:36 am
A new philanthropic gift of $200 million will ensure that the SETI Institute's efforts to find extraterrestrial life will continue for years to come.
- SETI Institute gets $200 million from Qualcomm co-founder to search for alien lifeon November 14, 2023 at 1:50 pm
Antonio bequeathed the amount to the institute to aid in its search for intelligent alien life ... that seeks to understand the “origins and prevalence of life and intelligence” in the universe. The ...
- The Search for Alien Intelligence Just Scored a $200 Million Booston November 14, 2023 at 12:10 pm
The SETI Institute, a leading non-profit in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, has received a transformative $200 million gift from the estate of Franklin Antonio, a long-time supporter who ...
- Exopsychology, the Study of Extraterrestrial Intelligenceon November 11, 2023 at 5:04 pm
by analyzing chemical signatures of far-away planets), and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) are now part of mainstream science, pursued at both NASA and prestigious universities ...
- Does Elon Musk See Tesla Robotaxis Joining Search For Alien Intelligence?on November 5, 2023 at 4:18 pm
Tesla Inc TSLA CEO Elon Musk on Saturday envisioned a future where its robotaxis could participate in applications related to distributed computing like one utilized by Search for Extraterrestrial ...
- News tagged with extraterrestrial intelligenceon November 5, 2023 at 4:00 pm
The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) has evolved considerably in the past 60 years since the first experiment was conducted. This was Project Ozma, which was conducted in 1960 by Dr ...
- Dinosaurs are helping astronomers in the search for extraterrestrial lifeon November 4, 2023 at 5:00 pm
These are environments where life might thrive in the solar system. The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) institutes around the world use radio telescopes to listen for signals from ...
- Search for intelligent aliens explores new radio-frequency realmson October 26, 2023 at 2:00 pm
SETI, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, has traditionally focused on radio frequencies higher than a gigahertz, such as the hydrogen-line frequency at 1.42 GHz. SETI astronomers tend to ...
via Bing News