At the Seti at Home Store, we love all things alien, outer space, and outside the realms of traditional scientific circles. As a proud supporter of the SETI Institute, we thought it would be fun to explain to you our loyal readers about everything we’ve learned throughout the years.
So what is SETI and why does it matter to you?
The SETI Institute is a well-known, non-profit organization. They have a primary goal of exploring and understanding the universe while also attempting to explain the origin of life. The Institute hopes to use the knowledge they amass to guide new generations of students to a better understanding of the world around them. There is a heavy focus on the gathering and sharing of knowledge.
SETI is an acronym for “Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence”. They have led this search by utilizing a variety of technological devices, such as advanced antennae arrays. Perhaps their most famous tool for searching the skies is the Allen Telescope Array
Amazing Pictures of the Allen Telescope Array
The Allen Telescope Array.
One of the crowning achievements of the Institute is the Allen Telescope Array(ATA), which was once known as the One Hectare Telescope. The ATA is a massive array of radio telescopes that works to detect extraterrestrial intelligence.
It is located in California nearly 300 miles northeast of San Francisco. Its location is known as the Hat Creek Observatory, which is within the Cascade Mountains. This particular location helps reduce the amount of interference from outside sources, though it does still occur.
The Institute is split into three separate buildings or centers.
One is the Center for Education, which focuses on astrobiology and astronomy for young students.
The second is the Carl Sagan Center, which focuses entirely on the study of life throughout the universe.
The third and final center is the Center for Public Outreach. The third center produces a radio talk show and podcast for the public.
How Technology Works – Outer Space Video Conferencing Video
Wikipedia.com defines video conferencing as:
The conduct of a videoconference (also known as a video conference or videoteleconference) by a set of telecommunication technologies which allow two or more locations to communicate by simultaneous two-way video and audio transmissions. It has also been called ‘visual collaboration’ and is a type of groupware. Read More
What You Need to Know About SETI
Most of the work is handled through the Carl Sagan Center. Here, more than 80 highly-qualified scientists work towards making breakthroughs in astrobiology, astronomy, astrophysics, planetary exploration, exoplanets, and geoscience. The scientists are led by an astrobiology roadmap that was charted using the Drake Equation.
The other two centers have their fair share of work as well. The Center for Education is teaching children, young adults, and educators about the latest finds in all of the fields covered above. There is a crash course curriculum on astronomy. It is a one-of-a-kind learning experience that can’t be had anywhere else.
The Center for Public Outreach works as the “middle man” between the SETI institute and the public. All of the finds of the SETI institute are eventually shared with the public via this center. They host multiple shows, broadcasts, and podcasts on a regular schedule.
More About the ATA
How The ATA Works.
Many radio telescopes work by relying on a single dish. They increase the power of the antennae by making the dish larger. The ATA, on the other hand, uses an array of many dishes instead of a single large dish. The idea works extremely well and has been duplicated in several countries around the world.
A single large dish is expensive and counter-intuitive. It is difficult to improve or make adjustments to in the future. A lot of time must be spent building the dish, but then no future upgrades can be made. An array of dishes is much easier to improve or expand in the future.
The ATA dishes are fairly cheap, especially compared to modern radio telescope dishes. The array was built using commercial dishes similar to those used in the television market. This saved money and made it easier to acquire the dishes. The array can be improved by simply adding more dishes at a low cost.
The overall capability of the ATA can still be compared to that of a single, large dish. For example, with 350 dishes the array will have the collecting area of a single dish that is 114 meters long in diameter. The angular resolution of the array will be the same as a single dish that is 700 meters in diameter. At the same time, it works more efficiently and faster than many such dishes.
The array of dishes also has the capability of searching multiple targets at a single time. It can focus on searching for signals from several exoplanet systems without stopping and realigning a single, large dish. It is estimated that the ATA has sped up the SETI search efficiency by a factor of 100 at least.
Ready to Start the Hunt? How You Can Help SETI…
We want to invade your… Computer! How you can help SETI.
Seti@Home is a volunteer program that allows people just like you help in the search for life beyond our planet. It’s also a way for you to give back and join the cause. To engage is very simple and easy to do.
- Go to https://setiathome.berkeley.edu/sah_participate.php
- Download their app to your computer.
- Have problems? They can assist you and let you know how to best run the software.
Seti is performing a valuable service. It’s important that if there is life outside of our present reality and knowledge, that we approach such beings with a caring and dicerning attitude. We never know what such relationships may bring.
More Improvements To Come.
The ATA has certainly not reached perfection yet. There are still several projects underway and incoming funding to the telescope array. In time, it will become one of the most powerful and capable telescope arrays on the entire planet. And each day SETI uses this array to further their goals and their search for extraterrestrial intelligence.