SETI Searched for Artificial Emissions from ‘Oumuamua

SETI wanted to address the mystery surrounding “Oumuamua, the first interstellar visitor that we’ve detected moving through our solar system keep getting deeper and deeper… What is it? An asteroid, a comet… a derelict alien spacecraft?

Using the Allen Telescope Array (ATA), scientist at SETI decided to observe ‘Oumuamua when it was about 170 million miles away to see if they could find answers to the question.

The intention, according to SETI, was to measure artificial radio transmissions which, if found, would be strong evidence that this object is not simply a rock tossed into space by a random gravitational slingshot interaction that occurred in its home star system.

“We were looking for a signal that would prove that this object incorporates some technology – that it was of artificial origin,” says Gerry Harp, lead author of a paper to be published in the February 2019 issue of Acta Astronautica. “We didn’t find any such emissions, despite a quite sensitive search. While our observations don’t conclusively rule out a non-natural origin for ‘Oumuamua, they constitute important data in assessing its likely makeup.”

Observations were made between November 23 and December 5, 2017, using the wide-band correlator of the ATA at frequencies between 1 and 10 GHz and with a frequency resolution of 100 kHz.

No signals were detected at a level that would be produced by an omnidirectional transmitter on-board the object of a power of about 10 watts or more.

While no signals were found coming from ‘Oumuamua, the types of observations reported by SETI Institute scientists may have utility in constraining the nature of any interstellar objects detected in the future, or even the small, well-known objects in our own Solar System.

Source: SETI Institute

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