Unprecedented recent results in the fields of exoplanets and astrobiology have dramatically increased the interest in the potential existence of intelligent life elsewhere in the galaxy. Additionally, the capabilities of modern Searches for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) have increased tremendously. Much of this improvement is due to the ongoing development of wide bandwidth radio instruments and the Moore’s Law increase in computational power over the previous decades. Together, these instrumentation improvements allow for narrow band signal searches of billions of frequency channels at once.The Breakthrough Listen Initiative (BL) was launched on July 20, 2015 at the Royal Society in London, UK with a charge to conduct the most comprehensive and sensitive search for advanced life in humanity’s history. Here we detail important milestones achieved during the first year of the program, describe the key BL SETI surveys and briefly describe current facilities, including the Green Bank Telescope, the Automated Planet Finder and the Parkes Observatory.Complementary to the BL initiative (at a smaller scale), pioneering SETI work at low radio frequencies (20-250 MHz) is being undertaken with the LOw Frequency ARray (LOFAR). This program uses simple fixed-stationary antennas and multiple phased-array beams formed in a supercomputer to search many targets at once and will lay the groundwork for future searches with SKA1-low and mid frequency aperture array pathfinders. We will present the results of a volume complete sample of nearby stars (< 5pc) observed with LOFAR, searching for drifting narrow band signals with expected Doppler drifts covering a wide range of potential transmitter host planets.We conclude with a brief view towards future SETI searches with upcoming next-generation radio facilities such as SKA and ngVLA.
American Astronomical Society Meeting Abstracts #229
- Pub Date:
- January 2017