Thursday, December 15, 2011

SETI Home needs your help.

SETI@home 

December 2011
Dear SETI@home Volunteer:

We need your help to continue the search for extraterrestrial intelligence!

Green Bank Telescope in snow
For the last eleven years, SETI@home has brought the search for extraterrestrial intelligence to millions of households around the world. SETI@home is the longest operating SETI search. We use the largest and most sensitive telescopes on earth to scan the skies for the faint whispers of another technology. Your tax-deductible donation will help enable us to continue the SETI@home and Astropulse projects at Arecibo Observatory, as well as pursue ambitious new experiments all over the world. SETI@home is primarily funded by the financial support of its participants. Your contribution is vital to sustaining our search for intelligent life on other worlds.
During the last year, we have laid the groundwork for expanding SETI@home into new portions of the radio spectrum and new regions of the sky. We have performed observations of Kepler exoplanets with the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia, USA, and we are very close to releasing these data to SETI@home and Astropulse volunteers. These observations will allow us to conduct the most sensitive search for intelligent life on these new worlds ever performed. We are also working with our colleagues at observatories all over the planet to install additional SETI@home data recorders to operate in piggy-back mode.

In addition to conducting SETI experiments, the SETI@home group actively trains the next generation of SETI scientists, working with students from high school through doctoral studies. Your contribution directly affects our ability to support additional students working with our group. Engaging the next generation of astronomers and engineers in SETI is absolutely crucial to ensuring its future.
Please consider a donation to SETI@home this holiday season. Any amount you can contribute would be an immense help in sustaining and growing the SETI@home search for extraterrestrial intelligent life. To contribute click here.

Thank you for your support and continuing dedication to SETI@home.

Sincerely,

Andrew Siemion
Andrew Siemion, Project Scientist
P.S.: We are now able to accept PayPal donations!
Andrew Siemion is an astrophysics Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Berkeley. His research activities focus on designing instruments and experiments to detect rare and novel radio phenomena.
 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Kepler Confirms ExoPlanet in a Habitable Zone

An exciting development - a Earth-like planet in a habitable zone (even possible that it has Earth-like temperatures). I am sure this planet will be the target of many investigations, especially as newer, more sensitive, equipment come on line.

This artist's conception illustrates Kepler-22b, a planet known to comfortably circle in the habitable zone of a sun-like star. Image Credit: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech
NASA's Kepler mission has confirmed its first planet in the "habitable zone," the region where liquid water could exist on a planet’s surface. Kepler also has discovered more than 1,000 new planet candidates, nearly doubling its previously known count. Ten of these candidates are near-Earth-size and orbit in the habitable zone of their host star. Candidates require follow-up observations to verify they are actual planets.

The newly confirmed planet, Kepler-22b, is the smallest yet found to orbit in the middle of the habitable zone of a star similar to our sun. The planet is about 2.4 times the radius of Earth. Scientists don't yet know if Kepler-22b has a predominantly rocky, gaseous or liquid composition, but its discovery is a step closer to finding Earth-like planets.

Previous research hinted at the existence of near-Earth-size planets in habitable zones, but clear confirmation proved elusive. Two other small planets orbiting stars smaller and cooler than our sun recently were confirmed on the very edges of the habitable zone, with orbits more closely resembling those of Venus and Mars.
Read more of this NASA press release at: <http://astrobio.net/pressrelease/4381/kepler-confirms-exoplanet-in-a-habitable-zone>.