Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now  arrow.png

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

    Please leave this field empty

Headshot of Bruce Betts

Telescope shows its Amazing Capabilities

Posted by Bruce Betts

11-07-2006 12:00 CDT

Topics: Planetary Society, Planetary Society Projects, SETI

During a few observation sessions in late April, the new Optical SETI Telescope was already demonstrating its amazing capabilities. Over three nights, the telescope completed 17 hours of observation, under the direction of Paul Horowitz and his team of Harvard graduate students. During that time, the telescope observed 1% of the sky, looking for the briefest flashes of light coming from outer space. This translates to 1000 times the sky area covered by Horowitz's Optical SETI targeted search, and 200 times the number of stars observed! To put this in perspective, recall that the new telescope surveyed the etskies for three nights; the targeted search operated for six years.

The chief beneficiary of the three nights of intensive observations was Andrew Howard who, among his many contributions to the project, designed the electronic chips used in the telescope's detectors. Andrew, who started out as Horowitz's grad student, needed the data to complete his doctoral dissertation on optical SETI. The observations were carried out manually, with Horowitz and his grad students taking turns in manning the observatory control room throughout each night. The team is still working on fully automating the telescope, so that it can observe each and every clear night, without the need for human supervision. This might take a bit longer than originally expected, because of a technical hitch that arose along the way: Andrew is getting married.

See other posts from July 2006


Or read more blog entries about: Planetary Society, Planetary Society Projects, SETI


Leave a Comment:

You must be logged in to submit a comment. Log in now.
Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis

Blog Search

Planetary Defense

An asteroid or comet headed for Earth is the only large-scale natural disaster we can prevent. Working together to fund our Shoemaker NEO Grants for astronomers, we can help save the world.


Featured Images

SpaceX CRS-8 landed booster
SES-10 static test fire
More Images

Featured Video

Class 9: Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune

Watch Now

Space in Images

Pretty pictures and
awe-inspiring science.

See More

Join The Planetary Society

Let’s explore the cosmos together!

Become a Member

Connect With Us

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more…
Continue the conversation with our online community!