New telescope to look for laser pulses from life around other planets

March 5, 2020

Panoseti Telescope Graphic Each PANOSETI observatory will house a geodesic dome of 80 innovative telescopes that can image about one-third of the heavens every night in search of sub-second pulses of light from intelligent civilizations in our galaxy. (Graphic courtesy of Shelley Wright, UCSD)

Are advanced civilizations in our galaxy trying to communicate with us by means of laser blasts?

A team of University of California, San Diego, UC Berkeley, Harvard University and California Institute of Technology astronomers are building a pair of fly’s-eye observatories to find out.

In early February, the scientists finished installing two prototype telescopes at Lick Observatory near San Jose, California, the first of hundreds of planned telescopes for a project called Panoramic SETI, or PANOSETI, for Pulsed All-sky Near-infrared Optical SETI. Eighty of these one-and-a-half-foot in diameter telescopes will be assembled into a geodesic dome, like the faceted eye of a fly, to collect optical and infrared signals from a big chunk of the Northern Hemisphere sky in search of split-second flashes of optical or infrared light.


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