Optical-SETI Anomaly: Australian Astronomers Detect Unusual Signal

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In summary: I don't know if there is good information on this, but I imagine that it would happen quite frequently, given how prevalent laser equipment is.
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... And indeed, in the first week of last December (2008) Bhathal's team detected an unusual strong laser signal that could not have been identified nor did it re-occur since: "It may be a glitch in our equipment, or some astrophysical phenomena (e.g an optical pulsar) or some unknown source. We are still investigating it", told Bhathal to the German online-newsmagazine "Grenzwissenschaft-aktuell.de"...
http://grenzwissenschaft-aktuell.blogspot.com/2009/05/australian-seti-astronomers-detect.html
 
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http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25448647-30417,00.html [Broken]

But when Ragbir Bhathal, an astrophysicist at the University of Western Sydney, who teaches the only university-based course on SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) in Australia, detected the suspicious signal on a clear night last December, he knew better than to crack open the special bottle of champagne he has tucked away for the history-making occasion.

Instead, he's spent the past few months meticulously investigating whether the unrecognised signature was caused by a glitch in his instrumentation, a rogue astrophysical phenomenon, or some unknown random noise.

Even if he picks up the signal again - he's been scouring the same co-ordinates of the night sky on an almost daily basis since - the scientific rule book dictates he'll need to get it peer-reviewed before he can take his announcement to the world. "And that is a lot of ifs," he concedes.
 
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Interesting indeed, although it always seems that the signal lasts for a second and then disappears never to be heard again! Same thing happened with the 'Wow' signal. What does he mean by laser pulses anyway? I don't get how you could communicate using laser pulses to some rocket in outer space?
 
  • #4


math_04 said:
Interesting indeed, although it always seems that the signal lasts for a second and then disappears never to be heard again! Same thing happened with the 'Wow' signal. What does he mean by laser pulses anyway? I don't get how you could communicate using laser pulses to some rocket in outer space?

http://seti.harvard.edu/oseti/
 
  • #5


math_04 said:
I don't get how you could communicate using laser pulses to some rocket in outer space?

it's been experimented before, I think the military is exploring this technology because of the insane bandwidth you can cram on a pulse of light

 
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  • #6


Yes, and we use pulsed LASER in every fiber optic line. It is the basis of modern communications technology.
 
  • #7


math_04 said:
What does he mean by laser pulses anyway? I don't get how you could communicate using laser pulses to some rocket in outer space?


You would modulate it, like any other signal.
 
  • #8
How often do optical anomalies that look like the detected pulse occur? Considering how prevalent laser equipment is, surely there's very good information on this?
 

1. What is Optical-SETI and how does it differ from traditional SETI?

Optical-SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) is a type of SETI that searches for potential signals from extraterrestrial civilizations in the optical spectrum, rather than the radio spectrum used in traditional SETI. This is because optical signals have the potential to carry more information and can travel further through space without being weakened.

2. How did the Australian astronomers detect the unusual signal?

The Australian astronomers used a specialized telescope called the Australian National University's SkyMapper to detect the unusual signal. This telescope is equipped with a special filter that allows it to specifically detect optical signals from potential extraterrestrial sources.

3. What makes this signal unusual or potentially significant?

The signal detected by the Australian astronomers has specific properties that make it stand out from typical background noise or natural phenomena. It has a specific wavelength and intensity that suggests it could be a deliberate communication from an extraterrestrial civilization.

4. How have other scientists responded to this discovery?

Other scientists and researchers in the field of SETI have expressed interest and excitement about this discovery, but have also cautioned that further analysis and confirmation is needed before making any conclusions about its origins. They also urge for more observations and data to be collected before drawing any definitive conclusions.

5. What are the next steps in investigating this potential anomaly?

The next steps in investigating this potential anomaly involve further observations and analysis of the signal, as well as attempts to rule out any potential natural or human-made sources. Other SETI researchers will also likely point their telescopes towards the same location in the sky to see if they can detect the signal as well. Additionally, efforts will be made to establish communication with the source of the signal, if possible.

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