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A SETI Search of 10 Million Star Systems

9 Sep 2020, 16:58 UTC
A SETI Search of 10 Million Star Systems
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As it is considered a precursor installation, the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) in Western Australia doesn’t get the press that its proposed successor, the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) regularly receives. That’s to be expected, given the scope of the SKA, which will involve telescopes in both Australia and South Africa. 14 member countries are developing a project that is to reach over a square kilometer of collecting area, containing thousands of dishes and up to a million low-frequency antennas. If it is built, SKA’s angular resolution and survey speed will allow surveys thousands of times faster than those now being conducted.
But the Murchison precursor is alive and well, working the 70–300 MHz range and mapping the radio sky. Established and maintained by CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, the MWA may be 50 times less sensitive than the SKA, but it has been put to work in areas ranging from the heliosphere to neutral hydrogen emission from the early universe. Its remit also includes several SETI studies, the latest being a search in the area of the constellation Vela (originally part of the larger Argo Navis constellation). The International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, which supports the Australian bid to ...

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