SETI & Technosignatures

A VERITAS/Breakthrough Listen Search for Optical Technosignatures

By Keith Cowing
Status Report
July 3, 2023
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A VERITAS/Breakthrough Listen Search for Optical Technosignatures
The stellar target locations, in equatorial coordinates, for both the dedicated and archival VERITAS observations. Distance and spectral type are also indicated, as described in the figure legend. — astro-ph.IM

The Breakthrough Listen Initiative is conducting a program using multiple telescopes around the world to search for “technosignatures”: artificial transmitters of extraterrestrial origin from beyond our solar system.

The VERITAS Collaboration joined this program in 2018, and provides the capability to search for one particular technosignature: optical pulses of a few nanoseconds duration detectable over interstellar distances.

We report here on the analysis and results of dedicated VERITAS observations of Breakthrough Listen targets conducted in 2019 and 2020 and of archival VERITAS data collected since 2012. Thirty hours of dedicated observations of 136 targets and 249 archival observations of 140 targets were analyzed and did not reveal any signals consistent with a technosignature. The results are used to place limits on the fraction of stars hosting transmitting civilizations.

We also discuss the minimum-pulse sensitivity of our observations and present VERITAS observations of CALIOP: a space-based pulsed laser onboard the CALIPSO satellite. The detection of these pulses with VERITAS, using the analysis techniques developed for our technosignature search, allows a test of our analysis efficiency and serves as an important proof-of-principle.

Atreya Acharyya, Colin Adams, Avery Archer, Priyadarshini Bangale, Pedro Batista, Wystan Benbow, Aryeh Brill, M Capasso, Manel Errando, Abraham Falcone, Qi Feng, John Finley, Gregory Foote, Lucy Fortson, Amy Furniss, Sean Griffin, William Hanlon, David Hanna, Olivier Hervet, Claire Hinrichs, John Hoang, Jamie Holder, T. Humensky, Weidong Jin, Philip Kaaret, Mary P. Kertzman, Maria Kherlakian, David Kieda, Tobias Kleiner, Nikolas Korzoun, Sajan Kumar, Mark Lang, Matthew Lundy, Gernot Maier, Conor McGrath, Matthew Millard, Hayden Miller, John Millis, Connor Mooney, Patrick Moriarty, Reshmi Mukherjee, Stephan O’Brien, Rene A. Ong, Martin Pohl, Elisa Pueschel, John Quinn, Kenneth J. Ragan, Paul Reynolds, Deivid Ribeiro, Emmet Thomas Roache, Jamie Ryan, Iftach Sadeh, Lab Saha, Marcos Santander, Glenn H Sembroski, Ruo Shang, Donggeun Tak, Anjana Talluri, James Tucci, Nico Vazquez, David Williams, Sam Wong, Jooyun Woo (VERITAS Collaboration), David DeBoer, Howard Isaacson, Imke de Pater, Danny Price, Andrew Siemion

Comments: 15 pages, 7 figures
Subjects: Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM)
Cite as: arXiv:2306.17680 [astro-ph.IM] (or arXiv:2306.17680v1 [astro-ph.IM] for this version)
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Submission history
From: Gregory Foote
[v1] Fri, 30 Jun 2023 14:11:55 UTC (2,531 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) 🖖🏻