What is the ATA?

The Allen Telescope Array (ATA) is an array of antennas which can be simultaneously used for both SETI and cutting-edge radio astronomy research.  The individual antennas are 6.1 meters across and so can see a relatively large area of the sky (2.5 degrees at 1420 MHz).  By combining the signals from each antenna in just the right way, we can synthesize a radio telescope with very fine resolution (5 arc-minutes at 1420 MHz).  Since this synthesis process is done in electronics, we can synthesize multiple independent telescopes with multiple copies of the electronics.  This gives us the ability to study many areas on the sky at once. For more information see beamformer. With the search capability of SonATA and with a significant fraction of time on the Allen Telescope Array we will conduct a reconnaissance to 100 thousand or even 1 million nearby stars.

The Allen Telescope Array is a joint effort by the SETI Institute and the University of California, Berkeley. It is located at the existing Hat Creek Observatory, run by UC Berkeley.  The site is in the Cascade Mountains just north of Mt. Lassen (California).  Paul Allen (co-founder of Microsoft) provided funding for the development and construction of the array with additional support from Nathan Myhrvold (former Chief Technology Officer for Microsoft).