archiv~1: SETI Finally, a sober discussion

SETI Finally, a sober discussion

Walt Williams ( (no email) )
Mon, 2 Nov 1998 13:35:24 +0000


>"Finally, a sober discussion"

You should try reading the archives before making insulting public
statements amongst the people who decyphered the hoax process which
was quoted in the report.

------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
Date: Mon, 02 Nov 1998 14:36:28 -0800
From: "Mark, The WebMaster" <>
Subject: SETI Finally, a sober discussion with Dr. Shostak

Re: Harvard is observing thi
2 Nov 1998 08:17:48 -0800
"Phoenix info" <>
"The WebMaster" <>

Dear Correspondent --

Thanks for your e-mail. We are aware of the claimed detection of an
extraterrestrial signal from EQ Pegasi. In fact, of course, this is
the star system that produced a good candidate signal for Project
Phoenix in September, while we were observing at Arecibo, Puerto Rico
(you can read about this on our Web site, Just click on
the Arecibo observations icon, and scroll down to September 17.) But
this candidate was, within 15 minutes, proven to be terrestrial
interference (probably an orbiting satellite) because we also saw the
signal when the telescope was pointed AWAY from the EQ Peg system.
There is no doubt about this.

So the fact that an anonymous British engineer now claims to have
found a signal in a place where we only saw interference raises a red
flag. Far more suspicious is the fact that this person insists on
remaining anonymous. Science doesn't work that way: if you make a
major discovery, you don't hide your name and make it impossible for
anyone to question you. Imagine if someone called anonymously from
Peoria, Illinois and claimed that they had discovered a cure for
cancer. How much credence would you give that claim if the discoverer
insisted that, for various unimportant reasons, he couldn't either
give you his name or phone number?

In addition, the SETI League, whom the engineer first alerted to his
"discovery," tried to confirm it, but failed. They had over sixty
other radio amateurs trying to find this signal, but couldn't, despite
the claim that it was VERY strong.

Finally, the first plot of the signal submitted to the SETI League
didn't have the characteristics of a signal observed by making a drift
scan (a drift scan involves keeping the telescope fixed and letting
the source, in this case the star system, move through the telescope
beam as the Earth rotates). When this was pointed out via public
postings, a second plot was submitted which DID have the correct
characteristics. Suspicious, no? It was then noted that this plot
didn't have the expected Doppler shifts due to Earth's rotation, and a
third, corrected plot was submitted.

These, and other indicators, all point in the same direction: this
signal claim is simply a hoax.

Seth Shostak
SETI Institute
Date: 10/31/98 0:19 AM
To: info, Phoenix
From: The WebMaster

Dr. Shostak and associates,

Please see attached images files.

Sure, could be a hoax, but if it isn't oughtn't you study it?

...whether "credit" goes to that fellow should not be an issue. I hope
it is not as your focus on this object is the true standard, IMHO.


The WebMaster