SETI & Technosignatures

First SETI Observations with China's Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST)

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
February 6, 2020
Filed under
First SETI Observations with China's Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST)
Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST)

The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) attempts to address the possibility of the presence of technological civilizations beyond the Earth.

Benefiting from high sensitivity, large sky coverage, an innovative feed cabin for China’s Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST), we performed the SETI first observations with FAST’s newly commisioned 19-beam receiver; we report preliminary results in this paper.

Using the data stream produced by the SERENDIP VI realtime multibeam SETI spectrometer installed at FAST, as well as its off-line data processing pipelines, we identify and remove four kinds of radio frequency interference(RFI): zone, broadband, multi-beam, and drifting, utilizing the Nebula SETI software pipeline combined with machine learning algorithms.

After RFI mitigation, the Nebula pipeline identifies and ranks interesting narrow band candidate ET signals, scoring candidates by the number of times candidate signals have been seen at roughly the same sky position and same frequency, signal strength, proximity to a nearby star or object of interest, along with several other scoring criteria.

We show four example candidates groups that demonstrate these RFI mitigation and candidate selection. This preliminary testing on FAST data helps to validate our SETI instrumentation techniques as well as our data processing pipeline.

Zhi-Song Zhang, Dan Werthimer, Tong-Jie Zhang, Jeff Cobb, Eric Korpela, David Anderson, Vishal Gajjar, Ryan Lee, Shi-Yu Li, Xin Pei, Xin-Xin Zhang, Shi-Jie Huang, Pei Wang, Yan Zhu, Ran Duan, Hai-Yan Zhang, Cheng-jin Jin, Li-Chun Zhu, Di Li
(Submitted on 6 Feb 2020)

Comments: 21 pages, 19 figures, 3 tables. Accepted for publication by ApJ
Subjects: Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM)
Cite as: arXiv:2002.02130 [astro-ph.IM] (or arXiv:2002.02130v1 [astro-ph.IM] for this version)
Submission history
From: Zhi-Song Zhang
[v1] Thu, 6 Feb 2020 07:09:58 UTC (9,593 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) 🖖🏻