Mysterious Signal from Space
SETI Contact

Mysterious Signal from Space
SETI Contact

The Arecibo Observatory is a radio telescope located close to the city of Arecibo in Puerto Rico. It is operated by Cornell University under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation.

The observatory's 305 m (1,001 ft) radio telescope is the largest single-aperture telescope ever constructed. It carries out three major areas of research: radio astronomy, aeronomy, and radar astronomy observations of solar system objects.

Across the globe, researchers searching for signs of life in space were abuzz with word that a mystery signal has been picked up by a giant radio-telescope in Puerto Rico.

In February 2003, astronomers involved in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) pointed the massive radio telescope in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, at around 200 sections of the sky.

The same telescope had previously detected unexplained radio signals at least twice from each of these regions, and the astronomers were trying to reconfirm the findings.

The team has now finished analysing the data, and all the signals seem to have disappeared. Except one, which has got stronger.

This radio signal, now seen on three separate occasions, is an enigma. It could be generated by a previously unknown astronomical phenomenon.

Or it could be something much more mundane, maybe an artefact of the telescope itself.

But it also happens to be the best candidate yet for a contact by intelligent aliens in the nearly six-year history of the SETI@home project, which uses programs running as screensavers on millions of personal computers worldwide to sift through signals picked up by the Arecibo telescope.

You can help participate in the search for extra-intelligent life with SETI @ Home. SETI@home is a scientific experiment that uses Internet-connected computers in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI).

You can participate by running a free program that downloads and analyzes radio telescope data.

Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) is the collective name for a number of activities people undertake to search for extraterrestrial life.

SETI projects use scientific methods to search for electromagnetic transmissions from civilizations  on distant planets. The United States government contributed to earlier SETI projects, but recent work has been primarily funded by private sources.

There are great challenges in searching across the sky for a first transmission that could be characterized as intelligent, since its direction, spectrum and method of communication are all unknown beforehand.

SETI projects necessarily make assumptions to narrow the search, and thus no exhaustive search has been conducted so far.