Madrid, 25 years old (European Press)
Scientists have been searching for these types of “technological signatures” for more than 60 years. Much of the research has been conducted using single observatories, which limits the ability to identify signals from ground-based interference fog on Earth. Much effort has been focused on frequencies above 1 GHz, because the single-dish telescopes used operate at these frequencies.
Using the Irish LOFAR telescope and its counterpart in Onsala, Sweden, a team led by Professor Ivan Kane, Associate Professor of Radio Astronomy in the School of Physics at Trinity College Dublin and Director of the Irish LOFAR Telescope, plans to observe millions of stars. Systems. Specifically, they are working to perfect multi-site, multi-telescope technology that will allow them to search at much lower frequencies, from 110 to 190 MHz.
Breakthrough Listening develops specific gear on Irish and Swedish LOFAR stations. Using multiple sites has the main advantage that a “false positive” signal is less likely to be provided; These signals arise as a result of the interference of many human sources on Earth.
The team has just published details of their method and ongoing research in the Astronomical Journal. They have already scanned 1.6 million star systems identified as targets of interest by the Gaia and TESS space missions, led by the European Space Agency and NASA, respectively. So far these searches have come up empty.
But the search is just beginning. Professor Kane said in a statement: “Over the past 50 years, evidence has been steadily mounting that the ingredients and conditions necessary for life are relatively common in the universe, raising one of life’s biggest unanswered questions: Are we really alone?
“For some people, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, or SETI, may sound like something out of a movie, but it has been a scientific endeavor for decades, and for a number of very good reasons.”
“With this project, we are basing our research on the common assumption that civilizations in other parts of the universe could use technologies similar to those developed on Earth. As a result, radio frequencies are a logical area for SETI studies due to the widespread use of SETI.” Telecommunications “Radar and our access to next-generation radio telescopes provide a great opportunity for a deep dive into the universe.”
LOFAR will soon undergo a series of phased upgrades at all array stations across Europe, enabling wider SETI range in bands from 15 to 240 MHz.