The Breakthrough Listen Search for Intelligent Life: A 3.95-8.00 GHz Search for Radio Technosignatures in the Restricted Earth Transit Zone



We report on a search for artificial narrowband signals of 20 stars within the restricted Earth Transit Zone as a part of the ten-year Breakthrough Listen (BL) search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

The restricted Earth Transit Zone is the region of the sky from which an observer would see the Earth transit the Sun with an impact parameter of less than 0.5. This region of the sky is geometrically unique, providing a potential way for an extraterrestrial intelligence to discover the Solar System. The targets were nearby (7-143 pc) and the search covered an electromagnetic frequency range of 3.95-8.00 GHz. We used the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope to perform these observations with the standard BL data recorder.

We searched these data for artificial narrowband (∼Hz) signals with Doppler drift rates of ±20 Hz s−1. We found one set of potential candidate signals on the target HIP 109656 which was then found to be consistent with known properties of anthropogenic radio frequency interference. We find no evidence for radio technosignatures from extraterrestrial intelligence in our observations. The observing campaign achieved a minimum detectable flux which would have allowed detections of emissions that were 10−3 to 0.88 times as powerful as the signaling capability of the Arecibo radar transmitter, for the nearest and furthest stars respectively.

We conclude that at least 8% of the systems in the restricted Earth Transit Zone within 150 pc do not possess the type of transmitters searched in this survey. To our knowledge, this is the first targeted search for extraterrestrial intelligence of the restricted Earth Transit Zone. All data used in this paper are publicly available via the Breakthrough Listen Public Data Archive (this http URL).

Sofia Z. Sheikh, Andrew Siemion, J. Emilio Enriquez, Danny C. Price, Howard Isaacson, Matt Lebofsky, Vishal Gajjar, Paul Kalas
(Submitted on 14 Feb 2020)
Comments: 17 pages, 8 figures, submitted to ApJ
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM)
Cite as: arXiv:2002.06162 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2002.06162v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Sofia Sheikh
[v1] Fri, 14 Feb 2020 18:26:49 UTC (3,111 KB)
Astrobiology, SETI

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