Category Archives: SETI

Update on that unusual signal from a distant star

[ Update: As many suspected, it appears the signal was of terrestrial origin: Turns out the signal astronomers saw was “strong” because it came from Earth – Ars Technica.

+ Here is a brief video from Seth Shostak:


That odd signal from a star 94 light years away is fun to ponder but very unlikely to have been sent by an alien civilization. Here was the first report to hit the Internet: An Interesting SETI Candidate in Hercules – Paul Clister/Centauri Dreams

A candidate signal for SETI is a welcome sign that our efforts in that direction may one day pay off. An international team of researchers has announced the detection of “a strong signal in the direction of HD164595” in a document now being circulated through contact person Alexander Panov. The detection was made with the RATAN-600 radio telescope in Zelenchukskaya, in the Karachay–Cherkess Republic of Russia, not far from the border with Georgia in the Caucasus.

The signal was received on May 15, 2015, 18:01:15.65 (sidereal time), at a wavelength of 2.7 cm. The estimated amplitude of the signal is 750 mJy.

No one is claiming that this is the work of an extraterrestrial civilization, but it is certainly worth further study. Working out the strength of the signal, the researchers say that if it came from an isotropic beacon, it would be of a power possible only for a Kardashev Type II civilization. If it were a narrow beam signal focused on our Solar System, it would be of a power available to a Kardashev Type I civilization. The possibility of noise of one form or another cannot be ruled out, and researchers in Paris led by Jean Schneider are considering the possible microlensing of a background source by HD164595. But the signal is provocative enough that the RATAN-600 researchers are calling for permanent monitoring of this target.

No one has yet seen a subsequent pulse from the star and, as mentioned above, there are various background sources that could have generated the original signal. Here are some updates on the analyses and observations from other radio telescopes:

Video: An overview of the SETI Institute

The SETI Institute has a clever new logo:

As indicated by the variety of Institute seminar videos that I post here, the Institute is involved in an amazing variety of world class research projects and outreach activities ranging from astrobiology to exoplanet research.

The radio and web podcast program Big Picture Science has become quite popular.

Of course, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence is still the primary activity.

The CEO Bill Diamond gives an interesting overview of the Institute and its wide ranging programs and projects:

BTW, Diamond mentions that the Institute’s Allen Telescope Array in northern California welcomes visitors. Check out to see webcam shots of the site:

ATA Webcam 1


Video: The SETI Institute and the search for life beyond earth

SETI Institute CEO Bill Diamond talks about the history, science, mission and future direction of the Institute in this video: QUEST! The Search for Life Beyond Earth and Science of the SETI Institute – SETI Institute

The SETI Institute is a 32 year-old non-profit research institute whose mission is to explore, understand and explain the nature of life in the universe. Most famous for its use of radio astronomy for the search for extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) the Institute is actually a multidisciplinary research organization where more than 70 scientists cover the full spectrum of the physical and biological sciences to explore the origins of life beyond earth. In this presentation, CEO Bill Diamond, will share the history, science, mission and future direction of the SETI Institute.

Kickstarter for documentary about searching for and messaging ET

Here is a crowd-funding campaign for a documentary about :
Earthling’s Quest – Alien hunters and a message to the stars by Alexander, Per & Malla — Kickstarter

This is not fiction – this is the human pursuit for extraterrestrial intelligence led by real-life legends from the SETI Institute in California – Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. Eavesdropping on ET has been around for a long time and the search for an alien signal that would change everything. Is it time that we start broadcasting targeted signals as well? If so, are we putting the entire civilization at risk? Prominent scientists think so. In this film you will see the hunt for the alien signal along with METI (Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence) International’s quest to start up the controversial project of broadcasting messages from Earth.

Your support will ensure that this fascinating story reaches Earthlings, making you part of a team with a duo of award-winning Directors and the Co-producer of an Oscar-winning film.

More about the project:

Join the Earthlings Quest! This is a cinematic feature-length documentary that will tell the story of SETI – the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence through the SETI Institute and METI International. You will meet Jill Tarter, Seth Shostak, Jon Richards and Douglas Vakoch among others. Jill was the inspiration for the Hollywood blockbuster movie “Contact” (1997), where we witness Jodie Foster as the character Ellie Arroway, receiving a signal from ET. Both Jill and Seth have been role models for spreading the word of science and inspiring future generations.