Distant Suns and SETI Institute now BFFs
We are pleased to announce that Distant Suns has partnered with the SETI Institute in Sunnyvale, California to highlight in real-time SETI candidate star systems that are being monitored. SETI (Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence) primarily uses the Allen Telescope Array (ATA) located near Mt. Lassen in Northern California to conduct its studies. The ATA, financed in part by Microsoft Cofounder,Paul Allen, us made up of over 40 dishes. Each dish in turn is 6.1×7.0 meters across.
The array will typically monitor the heavens for at least 12 hours daily, switching targets every few minutes. These targets are stars that are believed to have solar systems of their own, and preferably with earth-sized planets.
The targets are generally those in the same field of view that NASA’s Kepler satellite monitors for possible exoplanets candidates located at the side of the constellation Cygnus the Swan. Kepler has to date discovered hundreds of confirmed solar systems and thousands of possible candidates that are to be studied later.
Aside from the Kepler candidates, the ATA will also monitor other systems discovered by ground-based studies. And when not in use for SETI work, the antennas become a valuable tool for other more general-purpose radio astronomy investigations.
The antennas are configured to monitor up to 3 targets simultaneously within a few degrees of each other. Distant Suns will show you where the targets are and display information about the solar systems under study.
The ATA is open to visitors, but note that no cell phone use is permitted.
For more information, go to http://www.seti.org.