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The New Optical SETI Telescope
Posted: 12 April 2006 09:44 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Have you heard about the new "optical SETI" scope? Some think that alien intelligence may be using laser beams to contact us. A few searches have been already carried out by The Planetary Society. A new year-long search will start tomorrow at the Oak Ridge Observatory in Harvard, Massachusetts. The northern Milky Way will be scanned.
Bob

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Posted: 12 April 2006 09:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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The New Optical SETI Telescope

Have you heard about the new “optical SETI” scope? Some think that alien intelligence may be using laser beams to contact us. A few searches have been already carried out by The Planetary Society. A new year-long search will start tomorrow at the Oak Ridge Observatory in Harvard, Massachusetts. The northern Milky Way will be scanned.
Bob

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Posted: 13 April 2006 01:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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*interesting*

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Fighting the evil belief that there is a god(s).

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Posted: 18 April 2006 10:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Thanks for the info, Bob. I used to have the SETI screensaver on my Mac, but when I upgraded to OS X it took them forever to port it over, and I haven’t used it since. Anyhow it’s a valiant effort, and I hope that it pans out.

If you hear anything more about their optical efforts, let us know. It’s a fascinating possibility.

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Posted: 18 April 2006 03:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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The Optical SETI Telescope

[quote author=“dougsmith”]Thanks for the info, Bob. I used to have the SETI screensaver on my Mac, but when I upgraded to OS X it took them forever to port it over, and I haven’t used it since. Anyhow it’s a valiant effort, and I hope that it pans out.

If you hear anything more about their optical efforts, let us know. It’s a fascinating possibility.

dougsmith,
You’re welcome. Thought you’d be interested. I certainly will pass on anything more that I hear about about it.
Bob

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Posted: 18 April 2006 06:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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More about the Optical SETI telescope

[quote author=“dougsmith”]Thanks for the info, Bob. I used to have the SETI screensaver on my Mac, but when I upgraded to OS X it took them forever to port it over, and I haven’t used it since. Anyhow it’s a valiant effort, and I hope that it pans out.

If you hear anything more about their optical efforts, let us know. It’s a fascinating possibility.

dougsmith,
Here’s more about the optical SETI telescope
The telescope is the first large telescope designed solely for optical SETI. The 1.8-meter f/2.5 reflector has been optimized for detecting pulses of laser light transmitted by alien civilizations. The telescope has ultra-high-speed photoelectric detectors. The $400,000 project was funded mostly by The Planetary Society. The telescope will be looking for “spots in space” that flash for as briefly as a billionth of a second. An alien civilization would have a good reason to use brief laser pulses. Such pulses would be obviously artificial—nothing in nature can do this.
There is the possibility of building an identical telescope at another site. Observing with both scopes should reduce “false-alarms” completely.
Bob

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Posted: 19 April 2006 01:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Interesting, Bob, and I wish them well. It’s always a bit funny for me to think of attempting to predict how an alien civilization might communicate with us. If they’re out there, likely they are millions of years ahead of us technologically. In that case it is hard to know how we could predict much of anything about them.

:shock:

Think of what our technology looked like even 100,000 years ago ... stone tools! A few million years ago and we didn’t even exist as a species ...

But I suppose we all have to start somewhere.

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Posted: 25 April 2006 05:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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The SETI articles in Skeptical Inquirer

dougsmith,
The May/June issue of SI has four articles about SETI. One of them, “The Cosmic Haystack Is Large”, mentions the new Optical SETI (OSETI) and gives the web site for it http//seti.harvard.edu/oseti
Bob

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Posted: 25 April 2006 05:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Re: The SETI articles in Skeptical Inquirer

[quote author=“Bob”]dougsmith,
The May/June issue of SI has four articles about SETI. One of them, “The Cosmic Haystack Is Large”, mentions the new Optical SETI (OSETI) and gives the web site for it: http://seti.harvard.edu/oseti
Bob

Hi Bob,

It’s a neat looking instrument—I love telescopes. Haven’t gotten the new SI yet, but I’m sure I’ll enjoy reading about it.

:D

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Posted: 08 June 2006 07:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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The Avantages of Optical SETI

The advantages of optical SETI

1. Optical signals carry more information than radio signals

2. Better targeting is possible with the Optical SETI telescope

3. There is very little dispersion at optical wavelengths

4. Optical obervations would not be interferred with by radio, television, cell phones, etc.
—Source The latest issue of The Planetary Report magazine
Bob

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Posted: 09 June 2006 08:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Hi Doug and Bob,

Thanks for your warm welcomes! 

On this topic, I found this interesting website on the downfalls of our methods in communicating with ‘Aliens’ and has a comment on religion!

http://www.123infinity.com/extraterrestrial_life.html

Although they express their thoughts very simply, I agree that to justify the method we are using, we need to work on assumptions that have low probabilities!  We are assuming that they are sending the type of signals that we would be able to detect with our machines.  We are assuming that they have evolved the same way, and are as advance as humans.  We don’t know how many light years away they are, so by the time we get any signals, they may all be gone!  There are too many questions that keep me skeptical about our efforts to communicate with ‘Aliens’!

The theory and the technology are fascinating, though I sometimes wonder why we are spending so much money on something that we have no evidence for!  There is a possibility of alien existence, but isn’t it like searching for a God? 

I need a good argument for where all the money is going (especially in the US).  Can we justify funding projects to search for life out side of our earth, or how to make Mars habitable, when our planet is rapidly degrading and the survival of our species is a more immediate matter to consider?

There is also the theory of our universe being a 5D black hole!  that means we may get signals from outside of our universe, but we may not be able to get anything out!  Can you believe that?

New Scientist has the interview with the scientist who proposed the idea of 5D black hole.  It’s very informative to listen to!  and it’s Free…

You can find the podcast here:  http://www.newscientist.com/podcast.ns

Salome

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Posted: 09 June 2006 09:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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OOOPS!

Heh, I just read all your comments in the Astrology thread, and sounds like I’m a bit late for this discussion!  Interesting stuff though!

Salome

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Posted: 09 June 2006 02:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Re: OOOPS!

[quote author=“hmm!?!”]Heh, I just read all your comments in the Astrology thread, and sounds like I’m a bit late for this discussion!  Interesting stuff though!

Salome


Salome.
Thanks for you comments.
You may be “a bit late” but the important thing is that you’re here now.
Bob

P.S. I think you meant ot say Astronomy thread not “Astrology thread”.

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Posted: 10 June 2006 03:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Re: OOOPS!

[quote author=“Bob”]

P.S. I think you meant ot say Astronomy thread not “Astrology thread”.

LOL

Yes, you have to be very careful with that distinction!

:wink:

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Posted: 10 June 2006 04:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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[quote author=“hmm!?!”]Although they express their thoughts very simply, I agree that to justify the method we are using, we need to work on assumptions that have low probabilities!  We are assuming that they are sending the type of signals that we would be able to detect with our machines.  We are assuming that they have evolved the same way, and are as advance as humans.  We don’t know how many light years away they are, so by the time we get any signals, they may all be gone!  There are too many questions that keep me skeptical about our efforts to communicate with ‘Aliens’!

The theory and the technology are fascinating, though I sometimes wonder why we are spending so much money on something that we have no evidence for!  There is a possibility of alien existence, but isn’t it like searching for a God? 

I need a good argument for where all the money is going (especially in the US).  Can we justify funding projects to search for life out side of our earth, or how to make Mars habitable, when our planet is rapidly degrading and the survival of our species is a more immediate matter to consider?

Yes, it is all very speculative. Personally, I am “agnostic” about the possibility of contactable alien life. I believe that the universe is big enough that there must be intelligent life somewhere, but for all we know it could be in the Andromeda galaxy, and we’d never be able to communicate. (Millions of years to communicate a single message).

As for the funding, you may be surprised to know that none of it comes from the US government. The government did support SETI research decades ago, but there were arguments against it, and so they stopped. Now the research is basically all done by private funding, from organizations like The Planetary Society . FWIW, I think our government supports plenty of silly, stupid things, that there ought to be a few drops for something as potentially important (though speculative) as SETI. After all, as scientific research goes, SETI is very cheap. It’s certainly orders of magnitude cheaper than the International Space Station, which is basically useless as a science platform.

So yes, SETI is very speculative, but IMO the results could be really exciting, earth changing, if we ever did find anything. I say “why not?”; and certainly there can’t be an argument against it if it’s privately supported.

[quote author=“hmm!?!”]There is also the theory of our universe being a 5D black hole!  that means we may get signals from outside of our universe, but we may not be able to get anything out!  Can you believe that?

New Scientist has the interview with the scientist who proposed the idea of 5D black hole.  It’s very informative to listen to!  and it’s Free…

Cool, thanks, I’ll give it a listen when I have some free time. These sorts of cosmological questions are equally speculative, of course. But they are fun to consider as possibilities.

Best,

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Posted: 10 June 2006 05:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Re: OOOPS!

[quote author=“dougsmith”][quote author=“Bob”]

P.S. I think you meant ot say Astronomy thread not “Astrology thread”.

LOL

Yes, you have to be very careful with that distinction!

:wink:

doug,
Absolutely!
Bob

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