archiv~1.txt: SETI [ASTRO] Jodrell Bank Resumes Search For Life In The Universe

SETI [ASTRO] Jodrell Bank Resumes Search For Life In The Universe

Larry Klaes ( )
Tue, 23 Mar 1999 09:29:34 -0500

>X-Authentication-Warning: majordom set sender
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>Date: Tue, 23 Mar 1999 5:13:36 GMT
>From: Ron Baalke <>
>Subject: [ASTRO] Jodrell Bank Resumes Search For Life In The Universe
>Reply-To: Ron Baalke <>
>University of Manchester
>Nuffield Radio Astronomy Laboratories
>Jodrell Bank, UK
>Dr Ian Morison
>Phone: 01477 571321 Fax: 01477 571618
>PRESS RELEASE: 22nd March 1999
>Following the abandonment of the observations last September due to damage
>caused by Hurricane George to the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico,
>the University of Manchester's Lovell radio telescope at Jodrell Bank has
>resumed its role in the most sensitive and comprehensive search ever
>undertaken for radio communication signals from Extra-Terrestrial
>Civilisations beyond our Solar System.
>The collaborative research programme with the SETI Institute, called Project
>Phoenix, is using the two telescopes to make observations of the regions
>around several hundred Sun-like stars that lie within a distance of 200
>light years. Ian Morison, who is co-ordinating the Jodrell Bank
>observations, explained that, "Astronomers expect that other civilisations
>are most likely to be found on planets in orbit around stars similar to our
>Sun. Such stars live long enough and provide enough heat to allow life a
>chance to evolve. Jill Tarter, Director of the SETI Institute, points out
>that "by using the Arecibo and Lovell Telescopes together in the search we
>have the most sensitive system currently available to search for
>extra-terrestrial signals."
>The privately-funded SETI Institute, in California, has continued the
>development of a NASA multi-million channel receiver which is capable of
>efficiently searching a wide band of frequencies where extra-terrestrial
>signals might be found. This receiver is located at the Arecibo telescope
>and is used to make the initial detection of signals having the appropriate
>characteristics. The Lovell telescope is then immediately used to eliminate
>earth-based interference or confirm any suspected extra-terrestrial signal.
>Previous searches for Life in the Universe have always been plagued with the
>problem of discriminating between a "true" extra-terrestrial signal and
>those originating on Earth or from artificial satellites. As Ian Morison
>explains: "local signals are eliminated by making simultaneous observations
>with the two radio telescopes. Due to their transatlantic separation, a
>signal has to come from a very great distance, from at least the outer part
>of our Solar System, for the computer-based detection systems to be triggered
>at both telescopes. Fortunately, we can make a regular check on the system
>by receiving the signal from the 26 year old Pioneer 10 spacecraft, now far
>beyond the orbit of Pluto."
>The search is being undertaken during two three-week observing sessions each
>year and will continue for several years. As Professor Andrew Lyne, Director
>of Jodrell Bank, said "If an extra-terrestrial signal were detected, it
>would be one of the most dramatic discoveries ever made. We are glad that we
>can make a contribution to this exciting scientific quest."
>Further Information on the background to the search, and supporting images,
>can be found on the Jodrell Bank Web Site: