The buzz about `Oumuamua, our first known visitor from another stellar system, seems likely to continue given yesterday’s news that the object’s axis ratio is a startling 10 to 1. Given all that, Jim Benford wondered whether there were SETI implications here. Was anyone on the case from our major SETI organizations? The answer is below, as we learn that the effort is ongoing. A frequent contributor to these pages, Jim is President of Microwave Sciences in Lafayette, California, which deals with high power microwave systems from conceptual designs to hardware. He also heads up the critical sail subcommittee for Breakthrough Starshot, the effort to send small beamed sails with miniaturized payloads to a nearby star.
By James Benford
I contacted Jill Tarter and Andrew Siemion about whether SETI researchers are conducting observations of the interstellar interloper, Oumuamua. Both say yes.
Jill said that the Allen Telescope Array has been looking at it for a while. Andrew said that Breakthrough Listen was using the Green Bank Telescope for a few hours last weekend. This was actually looking for water via hydroxyl lines using broadband 1.1-1.9 GHz data. No water was immediately evident in the coarse spectra from the standard ...