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Peter Wilson
2006-Dec-07, 08:27 PM
In another thread I mentioned that European Starlings have a mating-song that clearly follows the same I IV V chord-progression found in much of pop music, and Mourning Doves sing a 4-note song in the slightly more obscure 5-tone harmonic scale.

The fact that I can understand European Starlings and Mourning Doves as well as I can understand Bach and jazz says that harmony, or "song," is the best inter-species language we have going.

In the SETI search programs, are they "listening for the jazz," i.e. does the search include looking for signals having a harmonic relation that would indicate a mindful origin?

WaxRubiks
2006-Dec-07, 09:28 PM
I think that they are looking for any strong signal with structure.

astromark
2006-Dec-08, 06:26 AM
And, then there's the debate as to are they looking or listening.
Looking implies optical observation.
I believe listening is more apt for this subject.
Sorry for being so pedantic, its just the mood I am in. One of my children dented my car. . . .# The only damage was to my off side door and my bank balance. . . . mumble, mumble.

01101001
2006-Dec-08, 07:10 AM
I think that they are looking for any strong signal with structure.

And, I do believe it is more carrier that would first catch their attention and not particular signals.

Universe Today: Dr. Seth Shostak Answers Your Questions About SETI (http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/seth_shostak_answers_seti.html)


To what degree does our SETI search make assumptions about the rate of information transfer? What transfer rates are we currently equipped to detect, and in what modulation modes? - wstevenbrown

We don't worry at all about modulation, or schemes for encoding messages. That's something to be considered after you've found that their transmitter is on! At the moment, all SETI experiments simply look for narrow-band (typically 1 Hz or narrower) components to a signal... somewhat akin to the "carrier" signal for earthly transmissions, but not limited to those. We also look for slowly pulsing signals, too. But the point is that at least some fraction of the aliens' transmissions are assumed to put a lot of energy into a narrow bandwidth... making those signal components more easily detectable.

SETI Institute FAQ (http://www.seti.org/Page.aspx?pid=558)


How do we know if the signal is from ET?

Virtually all radio SETI experiments have looked for what are called "narrow-band signals." These are radio emissions that are at one spot on the radio dial. Imagine tuning your car radio late at night… There's static everywhere on the band, but suddenly you hear a squeal - a signal at a particular frequency - and you know you've found a station.

Narrow-band signals, say those that are only a few Hertz or less wide, are the mark of a purposely built transmitter. Natural cosmic noisemakers, such as pulsars, quasars, and the turbulent, thin interstellar gas of our own Milky Way, do not make radio signals that are this narrow. The static from these objects is spread all across the dial.

In terrestrial radio practice, narrow-band signals are often called "carriers." They pack a lot of energy into a small amount of spectral space, and consequently are the easiest type of signal to find for any given power level. If E.T. is a decent (or at least competent) engineer, he'll use narrow-band signals as beacons to get our attention.

WaxRubiks
2006-Dec-08, 07:49 AM
I believe that SETI also look for a Doppler shift profile in a signal that corresponds with the movement of the Earth.

Peter Wilson
2006-Dec-08, 09:17 PM
So I can assume if the aliens are broadcasting some jazz-piece, SETI will pick it up, even if it is not immediately apparent that it is jazz?

Thanks, all. I'll sleep better tonight knowing that ;)

Fazor
2006-Dec-08, 09:31 PM
Peter: Also have to consider if it's a coincidence that birdsong and music correspond (i.e. interspecies commonality) or is it just that humans evolved music to mimic the sounds of the world around them?

Is SETI still active? I thought last I heard it was shutting down? But I don't really follow it.

01101001
2006-Dec-08, 11:43 PM
Is SETI still active? I thought last I heard it was shutting down?

Heard wrong. SETI Institute (http://www.seti.org/):


The SETI Institute was founded in 1984 as a nonprofit scientific research institution. From its beginning, its mission has been to explore the origin, nature and prevalence of life in the Universe, and to explain this science to the public. The Institute may be best known for its ongoing Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) programs, but the study of virtually all other aspects of astrobiology has been part of our mandate from the beginning.

The Institute employs nearly 120 individuals. Sixty-four of these are employed through the Center for the Study of Life in the Universe, directed by Dr. Frank Drake. Another twenty-six scientists and engineers are employed within the Center for SETI Studies, directed by Dr. Jill Tarter, who is a Co-Investigator on this grant. The remainder is in administration and education. The Institute has a public/private partnership with the University of California Berkeley, with which it is currently building the Allen Telescope Array to conduct the next generation of SETI searches. Funding for the Institute's SETI projects is almost entirely through private funds, whereas research within the Center for the Study of Life in the Universe is nearly entirely funded through peer-reviewed grants.

Allen Telescope Array panorama (http://atacam.seti.org/index.html)

From SETI.org's links page:


Other SETI:

Columbus Optical SETI Observatory
Jodrell Bank
Lick Observatory Optical SETI Program
Ohio State Big Ear
Optical SETI at Berkeley
Optical SETI at Harvard,
Project BAMBI
SERENDIP
SETI Australia Centre, Southern SERENDIP
SETI League
SETI@Home

SETI Related Research:

Darwin, Space Infrared Interferometer Project
Extrasolar Planet Search
The Kepler Mission
Square Kilometer Array
US Square Kilometer Array

Peter Wilson
2006-Dec-11, 10:08 PM
Peter: Also have to consider if it's a coincidence that birdsong and music correspond (i.e. interspecies commonality) or is it just that humans evolved music to mimic the sounds of the world around them?

I think I kinda jumped-the-gun with this thread, so to speak. SETI has to progress in stages:
1) Detecting an artificial signal
2) Deciding what it means

My question really addressed stage 2, and we have yet to achieve stage 1, so I guess its kinda moot, at this point.