SETI & Technosignatures

The Breakthrough Listen Search for Intelligent Life: Observations of 1327 Nearby Stars over 1.10-3.45 GHz

By Keith Cowing
June 19, 2019
Filed under
The Breakthrough Listen Search for Intelligent Life: Observations of 1327 Nearby Stars over 1.10-3.45 GHz
Distribution of observed sources in equatorial coordinates, taken from the 1702-star sample of Isaacson et al. (2017). Sources observed with Green Bank at both L-band and S-band are plotted in purple; sources only observed at L-band are plotted with red crosses; sources only observed at S-band are plotted with yellow squares; and sources observed with Parkes at 10cm are plotted with aqua diamonds.

Breakthrough Listen (BL) is a ten-year initiative to search for signatures of technologically capable life beyond Earth via radio and optical observations of the local Universe.

A core part of the BL program is a comprehensive survey of 1702 nearby stars at radio wavelengths (1-10 GHz). Here, we report on observations with the 64-m CSIRO Parkes radio telescope in New South Wales, Australia, and the 100-m Robert C. Byrd Green Bank radio telescope in West Virginia, USA. Over 2016 January to 2019 March, a sample of 1138 stars was observed at Green Bank using the 1.10-1.90 GHz and 1.80-2.80 GHz receivers, and 189 stars were observed with Parkes over 2.60{3.45 GHz. We searched these data for the presence of engineered signals with Doppler-acceleration drift rates between -4 to 4 Hz/s.

Here, we detail our data analysis techniques and provide examples of detected events. After excluding events with characteristics consistent with terrestrial radio interference, we are left with zero candidates. Given the sensitivity of our observations, we can put an upper limit on the power of potential radio transmitters at these frequencies at 2×10^12 W, and 9×10^12 W for GBT and Parkes respectively. These observations constitute the most comprehensive search over 1.10-3.45 GHz for technosignatures to date for Kardashev Type I civilizations. All data products, totalling ~219 TB, are available for download as part of the first BL data release (DR1), as described in a companion paper (Lebofsky et. al., 2019)

Danny C. Price, J. Emilio Enriquez, Bryan Brzycki, Steve Croft, Daniel Czech, David DeBoer, Julia DeMarines, Griffin Foster, Vishal Gajjar, Nectaria Gizani, Greg Hellbourg, Howard Isaacson, Brian Lacki, Matt Lebofsky, David H. E. MacMahon, Imke de Pater, Andrew P. V. Siemion, Dan Werthimer, James A. Green, Jane F. Kaczmarek, Ronald J. Maddalena, Stacy Mader, Jamie Drew, S. Pete Worden
(Submitted on 18 Jun 2019)

Comments: Submitted to ApJ
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM)
Cite as: arXiv:1906.07750 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1906.07750v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Danny Price
[v1] Tue, 18 Jun 2019 18:17:28 UTC (1,369 KB)
Astrobiology, SETI

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻