P.s. I am sending this from my daughter's computer in Raleigh, NC and will
have to wait till Monday to see your comments.
02/12/99- Updated 05:19 PM ET
Telescope to search for alien intelligence
By Tim Friend, USA TODAY
The world's first telescope dedicated primarily to the search for
extraterrestrial intelligence will be built over the next four years and
have the power to scan for signals at the edge of the universe, scientists
The unique radio telescope will be built by the Search for Extraterrestrial
Intelligence (SETI) Institute and the University of California-Berkeley,
using 500 to 1,000 inexpensive antennas 12 to 18 feet in diameter and
similar to backyard TV satellite dishes. The antennas will be electronically
coupled to form a single "radio ear" spread out over 2.5 acres, or 1
hectare. It is called the One Hectare Telescope, or 1hT.
Leo Blitz, director of the UC-Berkeley Radio Astronomy Lab, says the new
telescope will cost less than $25 million and easily can be expanded by
adding new antennas. It will be located at UC-Berkeley's Hat Creek
Observatory in the mountains of northern California.
The SETI Institute is the privately funded radio astronomy group that
listens for strong, single-frequency radio signals and pulsed signals that
repeat. Such signals stand out markedly from the background hiss generated
by different stars and natural objects in the universe. (The hissing sound
you hear between radio stations is what the universe normally sounds like.)
Scientists have developed racing heartbeats on more than one occasion after
picking up radio signals from stray or secret satellites.
SETI is based on the idea that intelligent life beyond our solar system
would generate radio waves similar to those made by humans on Earth. So far,
SETI astronomers have had to rely on buying and competing for time at radio
astronomy observatories such as Arecibo in Puerto Rico and the Very Large
Array in New Mexico.
Now the group will have its own permanent site, reducing operating costs and
dramatically increasing the amount of time spent on searches, SETI's Jill
The first task of the 1hT will be to search 1,000 nearby sunlike stars, then
expand outward to 100,000 and finally to 1 million suns in the Milky Way.
UC-Berkeley astronomers also will use the telescope to conduct studies of
pulsars and to survey stars in other galaxies. Tarter says the telescopes
will have capabilities beyond those available on other radio telescopes.
© Copyright 1999 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.