Confessions of an Alien Hunter by Seth Shostak

Confessions of an Alien Hunter by Seth Shostak

Author:Seth Shostak
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: en
Publisher: National Geographic Society
Published: 2009-08-14T16:00:00+00:00

In the years before Senator Bryan arranged to vote SETI off the island, the search for extraterrestrial signals had moved considerably beyond Frank Drake’s pioneering scrutiny of two nearby star systems. In the 1960s, astronomical studies of natural signals coming from space went mainstream. Radio static from our galaxy, once dismissed as a curiosity without consequence, had garnered the attention of a new generation of scientists and prompted the construction of large antennas sporting sensitive receivers. These included several instruments at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, West Virginia; the large telescopes at Britain’s Jodrell Bank Observatory; antennas of various shapes and sizes built by the Dutch, French, Italians, Swedes, and Russians; and a small horde of telescopes at universities around the world.

Several other antennas that would play an important role in SETI were also erected at this time. As in Britain, wartime radar engineers in Australia were keen to shift from detecting bombers to detecting galaxies, but their attempts to build a significant radio telescope down under were frustrated by a lack of money. Eventually, America’s Carnegie and Rockefeller Foundations primed the pump, and in 1961 the 210-foot Parkes radio telescope was completed. Nearly a half century old, it’s still the largest single-dish antenna in the Southern Hemisphere. The telescope’s large collecting area makes it particularly useful for finding pulsars and mapping the hydrogen in our galaxy. Its finest hour took place on July 20, 1969, when it received the first television images of men on the moon. For this it gained a starring role in the 2000 Australian movie The Dish. When I first saw the Parkes telescope standing mournfully alone in Australia’s fly-blown sheep country, it looked to me like a prop in a cheesy sci-fi movie.


Copyright Disclaimer:
This site does not store any files on its server. We only index and link to content provided by other sites. Please contact the content providers to delete copyright contents if any and email us, we'll remove relevant links or contents immediately.