archiv~1: [Fwd: Review of Possible EQ Peg SETI Hits]

[Fwd: Review of Possible EQ Peg SETI Hits]

Jim Ostrowski ( )
Sun, 22 Nov 1998 20:33:12 -0800

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Dear SETI list Participants,

The attached message found it's way into my computer this evening. It is
relevant to the discussion between Dr. Shuch and myself about the
likelihood of the ATCA 1.451 ghz hit.

Case closed. I am unsubscribing, email me privately if you wish. Thanks
to all who responded.

Jim Ostrowski

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Date: Sun, 22 Nov 1998 22:15:05 -0600
From: (Mitchell Jones)
Subject: Review of Possible EQ Peg SETI Hits
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Before the SETI thread was so rudely interrupted, several possible hits had
been made by radiotelescopes pointed at the EQ Pegasi coordinates:

(1) Sept. 17: Project Phoenix got a hit on 1210 MHz using the 305 meter
dish at Arecibo in Puerto Rico. This was immediately confirmed by a check
at Jodrell Bank, in England. Then the Arecibo receiver was moved to a
different location above the dish, and the signal went away. However, when
the receiver was moved back on target for EQ Peg and then off a second
time, the signal allegedly did not go away. Conclusion: the source was a
man-made satellite.

(2) Oct. 22: An anonymous individual, later alleged to be an Englishman
named "Paul Dore," claimed a hit at 1453.075 MHz using a 10 meter dish.
According to the report, when he repeatedly moved his dish onto and off of
EQ Peg, the signal repeatedly appeared and then went away.

(3) Oct. 31: A fellow calling himself "K.F. Benton" and claiming to live on
the island of Guernsey in the English Channel, said he got a hit between
1445 and 1455 Mhz.

(4) Nov. 2: A fellow calling himself "Jay Oka" and claiming to live in
Tokyo, Japan, said he got a hit at 1452.187 MHz.

(5) Nov. 3: Astronomers at the Australian Telescope Compact Array (ATCA)
got a hit at 1451 MHz, but attributed it to "interference."

Of these five possible SETI hits, two were by government controlled
radiotelescopes, and three were by privately controlled radiotelescopes.
Officials at the government controlled radiotelescopes attributed their
hits to non-ET sources, and explained the hits at the privately controlled
facilities by alleging fraud. Since there doesn't seem to be a simple way
to prove that the private hits were valid, let's ignore them for the time
being, and focus on the potential hits at government facilities.


The Project Phoenix hit at Arecibo on Sept. 17, 1998 was immediately
confirmed when the signal was found at the same location and frequency by
the radiotelescope at Jodrell Bank. The signal was described as follows:

"Its drift rate was high, suggesting that the transmitter responsible was
either on a very rapidly rotating planet, or more prosaically on a rapidly
orbiting satellite."

After a brief examination, the signal was declared to be bogus and the
likely source was explained as follows:

"Within 10 minutes, we noticed that the signal, whatever it was, could also
be seen when the telescope was pointed away from the star. It was probably
a telecommunications satellite--a sign of intelligence all right, but not
alien intelligence."

The above explanation is a physical impossibility. Telecommunications
satellites are geosynchronous--which means: they in the Earth's equatorial
plane, at a declination (DEC) of 0d0m0s, and have an orbital period of 24
hours. That keeps them positioned over a particular location on the
equator, because they rotate with the earth. This signal, however, was
found at the coordinates of EQ Pegasi--to wit: at RA 23h31m49.51s, DEC
19d56m16.8s. Since the DEC is 19 degrees above the plane of the Earth's
equator, the source of this signal could not possibly have been a
telecommunications satellite.

OK, let's explore other possibilities:

(1) Could the signal have been from a non-geosynchronous satellite--e.g.,
the space shuttle or a polar orbiting spy satellite, or the Mir space
station, etc? The answer: this is very unlikely due to the fact that this
signal was monitored for at least 10 minutes. (See quotes, above, from the
Project Phoenix staff.). That duration is sufficient to discount all
ordinary non-geosynchronous satellites, which orbit much closer to the
earth and, thus, at much faster rates of speed than geosynchronous
satellites. The reasoning is given below.

The beam width of a radio telescope is directly proportional to the
wavelength of the signal and inversely proportional to the diameter of the
dish. The formula is B = k(w/d), where B is beam width, k is a constant of
proportionality (i.e., its value depends on the units being used in the
calculation), w is the wavelength, and d is the diameter of the dish. If w
and d are in centimeters and B is in arc minutes, then k = 4200. For the
305 meter Arecibo dish at 21 cm, B = 4200(21/30500) = 2.89 arcmin = .048
degrees of arc. Thus for a satellite moving at X degrees/minute to stay in
the Arecibo beam for 10 minutes, the following relationship would have to
hold: (.048/X)60 = 10 minutes. Solving, we find that X = .288 deg/min. That
gives our hypothetical satellite a minimum period of 360/.288 = 1250 min =
20.83 hours. Since the period of a geosynchronous satellite is exactly 24
hours, and since periods get shorter and shorter as the orbit gets closer
to the surface, this means the satellite in question would have been in one
of the useless, unoccupied orbits, just inside the 22,300 mile orbit where
the telecommunication satellites are parked, in order to allow a 10 minute
observational time. But if it is there, what Earthly purpose does it serve?
Useful non-geosynchronous satellites tend to be in *much lower* orbits, and
at *much higher* velocities. They would pass through the Arecibo beam in
much less than 10 minutes. A space shuttle orbiting at 300 miles, for
example, would have a period of 1.57 hours, would move 360/1.57 = 229
deg/hr, and would traverse the Arecibo beam in (.048/229)60 = .013 minutes.
Bottom line: not merely is it physically impossible that this signal came
from a telecommunications satellite, it is also extremely unlikely that it
came from any satellite in an orbit lower than a geosynchronous satellite.

(2) Now let's consider the possibility of terrestrial interference. The
Project Phoenix staff suggested that possibility as follows:

"During the off observation, the Arecibo telescope is re-pointed and aimed
away from the star system under scrutiny. Any real alien signal would, of
course, go away. Terrestrial interference, on the other hand, which could
be leaking into the telescope from the sides, probably wouldn't. Nodding
the telescope is a good way to sort E.T. wheat from earthly chaff."

The problem with such an explanation, however, is that it doesn't apply to
UHF (Ultra High Frequency) signals, which fall in the range from 300 to
3000 MHz. I used to spend lots of time scanning the VHF band (30 to 300
MHz), and one of the things I noticed is that 40 MHz was about the highest
frequency that I ever received from an over-the-horizon transmitter. When I
read up on the subject, I discovered that 40 MHz is roughly the upper limit
for non-line-of-sight transmissions. Such signals don't bounce off the
D-layer of the ionosphere except on hot summer days when the D-layer is
very strong. At all other times--e.g., in the winter or at night--they
drill their way straight out into space. Since 40 MHz is close to the upper
limit, it follows that a UHF signal at 1450 MHz damn sure isn't going to
bounce! Hence there is *no way* a 1450 MHz signal being received both in
Arecibo, Puerto Rico and at Jodrell Bank in England, is due to terrestrial

In summary, we can conclude that the signal received at Arecibo on Sept. 17
definitely came from space and, if it came from a satellite, the satellite
had a period greater than 20.83 hours but was not geosynchronous. (Can
anyone suggest a satellite that fits this bill of particulars?)


It should be noted at this point that the 1210 MHz signal found at Arecibo
showed a definite tendency to rise in frequency. It was described as
follows by the Project Phoenix staff: "a faint, narrow line became
conspicuous, wending its way across the graphic, and drifting determinedly
to higher frequencies." Since that hit occurred on Sept. 17, and since the
frequency was drifting upward, one would expect to find it at a
considerably higher frequency on Nov. 3, more than a month later, when a
search was made by the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA). And, sure
enough, when ATCA looked at EQ Peg, they got a hit on 1451.8 MHz. Their
description ran as follows:

"Some interference is seen at about 1451.8 MHz, which is over 1 MHz away
from the frequency of the signal observed by Mr. Dore (1453.075 MHz), and
so is probably not related. Its amplitude varied over the course of the
observation, as shown below, in a way consistent with a source moving
through the sidelobes of the antenna."

"Further analysis of this interference (the plot of phase against time
below, which shows about 1 turn per min on a 350m baseline) shows it to be
from a source several degrees away from the star. Almost certainly this is
a terrestrial satellite broadcasting at this frequency."

"Such interference is not surprising. This frequency range is allocated to
terrestrial broadcasting (including digital audio), satellite broadcasting,
terrestrial mobile (including aircraft mobile and aircraft telemetry), and
terrestrial fixed and mobile. So we shouldn't be too surprised when CW
signals come and go."

The problem I have with the above theory is simple: the odds against
pointing the antenna at EQ Peg and finding this signal due to chance are
simply enormous. This means if we assume the Arecibo hit was just an
accident--that a non-geosynchronous satellite with a period greater than
20.83 hours and an unfathomable purpose was just entering the beam area
when the Arecibo telescope was pointed at EQ Peg--then the odds would be
huge that, when ATCA pointed its beam at EQ Peg more than a month later,
the satellite in question would *not* just happen to enter the beam of that
telescope also. After all, its orbit would pass through those coordinates
only once every 360 degree circuit. Since the ATCA array is equivalent to a
54 meter dish, it has a beam width of roughly B = 4200(21/5400) = 16.3 arc
minutes = .27 degrees. Thus the probability of ATCA just happening to point
their beam at EQ Peg when this supposed satellite comes by would be .27/360
= .000756, or, practically speaking, zero.

The implication: the odds are enormous that what we have here is a SETI hit
and a governmentally orchestrated cover-up, rather than an evil hoax
perpetrated by some nasty private individual and unmasked by ever-vigilant
and ever-protective governments.

--Mitchell Jones

***{P.S. This post has been in my machine for several days, while I have
pursued other distractions. I had planned to make a number of changes,
polish it up, add some more material, and then send it out. However, I have
decided instead to post it immediately. The reason: someone entered my
house today, and did nothing but turn on my computer and access my files.
He did not need to break in: *he had his own set of keys.* What this
suggests to me is that I am in deep shit: black ops goons have noted my
recent posts about the Paul Dore affair, and have invaded my house to see
how much I know and to determine whether I have access to any non-public
sources of information. They copied all of my files, and are probably going
over them as we speak, to decide what to do next. What they will discover
is that all of my information comes from the internet, and that I have
reached my conclusions precisely as I have indicated in my posts: by
analyzing publicly available sources of information. The reason I am
hurrying up this post, therefore, is straightforward: they now know that it
is on my machine, awaiting transmission. If they are bent-enough out of
shape to invade my home solely because of the trifling posts I have made on
this matter already, then they might do something drastic to prevent the
above material from going out. But if it is already out, on the other hand,
then things may be different. Thus I feel that I have no choice but to send
it out. For the record, neither I nor my wife have any plans to commit
suicide. We are both in excellent health, are not accident prone, and
neither of us have any plans to suddenly vanish. Thus if any events should
transpire which might be explained in these ways, I would suggest that the
explanations ought not to be believed.

For those who wonder how I know that my home was invaded, the answer is

This afternoon (Sunday, Nov. 22), my wife and I were getting ready to go
out to eat at a restaurant, as we normally do. While I was taking a shower,
she was on the internet, reading some usenet groups that interested her.
After getting dressed, I went back to the computer room and, as I walked
up, she brought down our internet connection, rolled her chair back from
the computer a bit, turned around, and said: "Are you ready to go?" "Yes,"
I replied, "but let's bring the computer down first." Leaning over, I moved
the cursor up to the "Special" menu (we have a Power Mac G3), and chose
"Shut Down." Whe the screen went back, she turned off the monitor, the
Iomega hard drive, and the power strip, in that order. We then locked up
the house, got in our car, and drove to the restaurant. However, we
deviated from our accustomed routine today. Normally after we finish eating
we sit at the restaurant, read newspapers and/or magazines, and drink
coffee. Today, we ate and ran. When we returned home, the sound of the car
engine in the driveway attracted several stray cats that we are in the
habit of feeding, and Carol got a bag of cat food out of the car and began
putting out food for them. I walked roughly 30 yards through a grove of
trees to the front door, unlocked the regular lock and the deadbolt, and
went inside. After placing the Sunday paper on the kitchen table, I walked
back to the computer room. When I got there, I was surprised to discover
that the computer was on, and had the standard "Finder" desktop display,
including various icons of programs and files that I frequently use. "How
could this thing be up?" I immediately asked myself. "I distinctly remember
bringing the system down and watching Carol turn everything off before we
left." I just sat there thinking, touching nothing. A minute or so later, I
heard Carol come in, and asked her to come back to the computer room. When
she did, I asked her if we had or had not brought the computer down just
before we left. She remembered the sequence of events just as I did.
Result: we both questioned our own memories and decided that we were
becoming senile. She walked back into the kitchen while I remained sitting
in front of the computer screen, just staring at it. Then the screen saver
came on, as it automatically does five minutes after the last keystroke,
blanking out the "desktop" display, and replacing it with its own
constantly varying screensaver display. When that happened, the realization
hit me like a thunderbolt: my home had been invaded by black ops goons, who
had left my home, locking the front door with their own keys, just moments
before I entered it. The proof was in the screensaver: when I walked into
the room, the screensaver was not on. Since it comes on five minutes after
the last keystroke, and since we had been gone far, far longer than five
minutes, it constituted smoking gun proof that my home had been invaded.

What will I have to say about this subject in the future? The answer:
nothing whatsoever. I am neither a fool nor a revolutionary. The present
post is going out because I feel that I have been left no choice. Once it
is out, the desire to prevent it from going out should be absent. And,
since I plan to shut up on this subject in the future, hopefully they will
see fit to leave me the fuck alone. All I wanted was an interesting
discussion of an important topic. I did *not* intend to place myself in a
confrontation with forces that I obviously cannot defeat. If any of you
think this is a coward's response, so be it. I would rather be a live
coward than a dead hero any day.

--Mitchell Jones}***