archiv~1: Re: SETI ATNF clams up on 1.451 ghz hit.

Re: SETI ATNF clams up on 1.451 ghz hit.

Dr. H. Paul Shuch ( (no email) )
Wed, 18 Nov 1998 20:11:17 -0700

I have refrained (and will continue to refrain) from non-productive discussions of alleged signals which cannot be verified, or which have not been subject to The SETI League's rigorous verification protocols. However, the questions raised in the referenced email deal with verification procedures, hence appear worthy of a considered response.

On Thu, 19 Nov 1998 06:02:54 Jim Ostrowski wrote:

>He spent less than
>20 minutes observing this signal,

With research grade radio telescope time costing upwards of $4000 per day for the instrument alone, that 20 minutes wasted about $55 US (not counting the salaries of the engineers, scientists and technicians who did the measurement). 20 minutes of observing time is a loxury, an *eternity* in radio astronomy. The average SETI League telescope observes a given piece of sky for around 12 minutes, maximum. I think Dr. Norris gave the allegations rather more time than they deserved.

>made no attempt to determine the
>modulation mode, if any,

The equipment used at ATNF for continuum radio astronomy is *incapable* of being used to determine modulation mode. It is intended for total-power, not spectral, measurements.

>Modern satellite technology
>uses wide
> band but low field strength "spread spectrum" technology which requires
> recursive processing at the receive end in order to extract data from
> noise.

That's true of *some* (but not *all*) modern satellite systems.

> With all of this in mind , it came to my attention that the "SETI
> League" effort is geared to looking for a wide band signal. Is this
> true?

No, it is not. We look specifically for narrow-band events. See the extensive technical information on our website.

>There is apparently a "Dr. Nathan Cohen"
> associated with the SETI league who thinks that a narrow band signal
>won't work.

Dr. Cohen is not associated with The SETI League, although he has expressed interest in joining our non-profit organization (as can you, or anybody). He has not to my knowledge said that narrow band signals *won't work* (of course they will), but rather that no extra-terrestrial civilizations would employ them. However, I respectfully disagree with this assertion.

> I have read that there were "numerous" attempts by menmbers of the SETI
> to verify the "Dore" hit.
>Where can one review write-ups of the
>reported attempts of others?

The SETI League routinely investigates many actual signals. These are thoroughly documented on our website's "What We've Heard So Far" page. The EQ Pegasi Hoax, however, was NOT a signal. There was NOTHING there to report! We don't ask our members to waste their valuable time writing reports each time they don't hear anything. It's bad enough that so many of them wasted their time looking for what turned out to be a totally fraudulent claim, from a hoaxter.

I am pleased that this list appears to be returning to its intended function, which is the discussion of extra-solar electromagnetic signal detection techniques. I will be happy to answer (as my time permits) queries about the art and science of SETI. I will neither read nor answer emails dealing with conspiracy theories or accusations of complicity in supposed cover-ups. That's just not what we're here for. And I thank those SETI supporters who have remained silent, waiting for reason to prevail over emotion.

---Dr. H. Paul Shuch, Executive Director, The SETI League, Inc.433 Liberty Street, PO Box 555, Little Ferry NJ 07643phone (201)641-1770; fax (201)641-1771; URL>  PLEASE REPLY TO:  <---

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