The setiQuest team and community wishes the best for everyone during 2011. We continue to make steady progress towards our goal of "empowering earthings everywhere to become active participants in the search for cosmic company."
2010 was the year for us to learn and to build the infrastructure. During 2011, we expect to do both - open source the software, and engage the citizen scientist community through interesting applications.
On Nov. 5-6, the SETI Institute joined in a worldwide collaboration on 5 continents, and 15 countries, including more than 50 professional astronomers to repeat the first SETI observation made 50 years ago by Frank Drake. In addition to the stars chosen by Frank Drake, a few other stars were chosen -- using latest developments in science to make choices -- in the northern and southern hemisphere.
So far, it seems that data taken on Kepler 04 (a star with a known exoplanet) are the most popular by far. This is because early on, we saw an interesting signal that was not repeatable. Still, interest has not quelled, and there are reasonable arguments why it should not. Perhpas the transmitter is not always pointed toward us, for example.
With expert guidance from people in a number of open communities, setiQuest is now taking further steps towards greater openness. "Radical openness" is the term that is being used - although I am not sure if what we are doing is radical.
As part of our setiQuest, we have weekly observations on Fridays where we capture raw data from the telescope and publish this data on the web. We thought you might enjoy updates on what we're looking at.
Today we focused on stars that are known to have exoplanets. The most exciting one is Gl-581, which was found only yesterday to have a super-earth exoplanet orbitting around it. Many media outlets have covered this, here is a report I think is well regarded:
We are trying to move forward with our concept for engaging citizen scientists to help the SonATA team to discover signals in data collected with the ATA that we might otherwise miss. In particular, we would like citizen scientists to find any potential ETI signals that occur in bands of the frequency spectrum that are crowded with signals that our own terrestrial communications systems produce – we refer to these as badbands and do not routinely
We have made a significant upgrade to the SonATA system documentation in the WiKi. Please have a look at:
The documentation is nowhere near complete, but we have a good start. Over the following weeks and months we will be adding to and tweaking the documentation.
We appreciate comments! If you find anything wrong or unclear, post on the forum. This will help us make the documentation better.
Now you can start to dig into the source code. Visit http://setiquest.org/oldwiki/opensonata-release-21 for documentation and download instructions.
OpenSonATA Release 2.1 includes the source code for the following software:
We announced our Open Source program three weeks ago. Yet our open sourcing process will take another one year. Why the delay, you may wonder. There are a number of reasons - code reorganization, resourcing, documentation, and the biggest one of them all , complying with the various open source and commercial licenses we are using in our codebase as we open source it.
I gave a keynote talk at OSCON this morning to let the open source community know about setiQuest and to ask for their help to make it shine. I guess the attendees were pretty tired of slides filled with logos and lines of text surrounded by curly-brackets, because the talk was very well received and they were delighted to see images of radio telescopes and galaxies. Throughout the day people stopped me to say how much they enjoyed our exciting exploratio