LITTLE FERRY, NJ.., July 2001 -- Six years ago The SETI League, Inc., grassroots leaders in the privatized Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence, pioneered the conversion of satellite TV antennas into research-grade radio telescopes. A surprise gift of 47 dish antennas, feed assemblies, and antenna mounts has now brought the group one step closer to realizing its long-planned phased array telescope design. The donation, from father-and-son computer dealers Lionel and Jason Lumaghini of Rockland, MA and their respective companies (JCM Computers LLC and Micro Technology), gives SETI League engineers enough commercial-grade antennas and support hardware to test design concepts, and eventually to assemble their Array2k antenna project announced in 1999.
"I'm glad to hear that the dishes will work well for your project," donor Jason Lumaghini told SETI League executive director Dr. H. Paul Shuch. "They look a lot nicer set up than they did sitting in my warehouse."
"These dishes are somewhat smaller than the ones initially envisioned for this project," replied Shuch, "but the price is certainly right! What we're saving in antenna costs can be applied to developing superior electronic circuitry." The younger Lumaghini had previously donated hardware to the University of California's SETI@home distributed computing experiment.
The Array2k design combines a large number of standard satellite TV antennas into a single, powerful radio telescope. The SETI League, Inc. demonstrated collaborative use of multiple backyard satellite TV dishes for SETI research with the launch in 1996 of its Project Argus all-sky survey. The concept has been embraced by other scientific organizations, including the prestigious SETI Institute in California, which last year announced its considerably more ambitious Allen Telescope Array, to combine 600 such dishes into a grand SETI instrument.
The SETI League's more modest design will support the individual efforts of its 1250 members worldwide as a follow-up detection device to help confirm their observations. It will also be used for direct astronomical research, and serve as a test-bed for SETI League engineers to develop the technologies which will someday allow them to unite thousands of members' small backyard telescopes into a huge, planetary array.
SETI scientists seek to determine through microwave and optical measurements whether humankind is alone in the universe. Since Congress terminated NASA's SETI funding in 1993, The SETI League and other scientific groups have been attempting to privatize the research. Experimenters interested in participating in the search for intelligent alien life, or citizens wishing to help support it, should email to join_at_setileague_dot_org, check the SETI League Web site at http://www.setileague.org/, send a fax to +1 (201) 641-1771, or contact The SETI League, Inc. membership hotline at +1 (800) TAU-SETI. Be sure to provide us with a postal address to which we will mail further information. The SETI League, Inc. is a membership-supported, non-profit [501(c)(3)], educational and scientific corporation dedicated to the electromagnetic Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence.
P.S. Tearsheets are always appreciated. Thank you.
entire website copyright © The SETI League, Inc.
this page last updated 30 November 2002
Top of Page