SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) is a scientific experiment whose goal is to listen for and detect intelligent life outside of the planet Earth. Radio SETI uses radio telescopes to listen for narrow-bandwidth radio signals from outer-space.
Radio telescope signals consist primarily of noise from space and man-made signals from Earth. SETI projects now analyze the data digitally. But previous radio SETI projects used supercomputers to do the bulk of the data analysis.
SETI@home was born when David Gedye proposed doing radio SETI using a virtual supercomputer comprised of many Internet-connected computers. SETI@home was then started in May 1999.
Currently SETI@home uses observational data from the Arecibo radio telescope known, as Project Phoenix, which is located in Arecibo, Puerto Rico.
The data for Project Phoenix is collected passively taken while the telescope is being used for other scientific programs. Then the data is stored, and sent to the SETI@home’s internet based computers, such as ours. Since the SETI@home project a vast number of computers they hope to convince you to allow them to borrow your computer, when you aren't using it of course, to "…search out new intelligent life and unfound civilizations."
If you choose to help they will ask you to download a screen saver for your computer that has a duel purpose of getting data from their main computer via the internet. Since the program is a screen saver it works only when your not using your computer. But when you need your computer it stops and will only continue when you are finished using your computer. When the program is running it will cut the data into small chunks in frequency and time, and will look for any signal variations and analyze anything that could possibly be a signal from other worlds. When completed your computer it will send the results back to SETI over the internet and get new data to analyze. Click here to download the BOINC software used by SETI@home.
The newest telescope is located at the Hat Creek Radio Observatory, 290 miles northeast of San Francisco, California named The Allen Telescope Array (ATA). This telescope is a string of 350 radio telescopes, and is a joint effort of the SETI Institute and the Radio Astronomy Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley. The ATA is a radio interferometer that is dedicated the search for signals of intelligent, extraterrestrial origin.
The Allen Telescope Array is optimized to cover frequencies between 1,000 and 10,000 MHz, which is more than five times the range encompassed by Project Phoenix. Thus giving scientists new hope in their search for sounds from ET.
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