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Monday, December 12, 2016

SETI


Vela Pulsar
Not a radio transmitter belonging to an extraterrestrial civilization.

Looks like we are finally applying a little intelligence in our search for intelligent life. From a story on Nautilus:
Put simply, we may well have received a message from intelligent beings and neglected it because it didn’t conform to our expectations for what a signal should look like. And this might be why we have yet to detect any interstellar communications in 50 years of searching. - Laurance R. Doyle
He's applying information theory to non-human communications to rate their complexity. Humpback whales pass, the Vela Pulsar (above) doesn't. More from the story:
We are currently analyzing microwave data obtained at the SETI Institute’s Allen Telescope Array, which consists of 42 individual telescopes observing in the frequency band from 1 to 10 gigahertz.
Which, along with the stuff I've been reading about radiation recently, makes me wonder if maybe advanced civilizations are using gamma rays for communication. You would be able to pack a lot more information in a gamma ray signal, much more than you can get in any kind of radio signal. Gamma rays are to the light we use in our fiber optics much like that light is to radio waves. Admittedly, gamma rays are a little hard to control, and fatal if you catch too many of them, but maybe that's the test of an advance civilization: the ability to control gamma rays.

Via Detroit Steve.

Pictures of the Allen Telescope Array:

Hat Creek Radio Observatory by The Flicks

UC Hat Creek Radio Observatory (HRCO). Image credit: Gary Crabbe

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