Update: we need to digest this first. All-sky there could be 2000 FRBs per day.
This post - like nearly all the others - is about the questions I have. I am not a radio astronomer.I want to know how and how much and when about the radio telescope we will discuss below. This was stimulated by my interview with Robert Dixon last year
, in which he discussed the virtues of the Argus concept
. I lay awake that night thinking about it, and wondering why it hadn't been built yet.
The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (aka SETI) is just that - a search. Like any search, it becomes much more difficult when more dimensions are added to the search space, and far easier when one or more of those dimensions are removed.
For example, if you are looking for an obscure little store with the best barbeque ribs in the West, and all you know is that it's in Los Angeles County, then your search space is quite large. However, if you have the additional information that it's on Santa Monica Boulevard, then you you still have some searching to do, but much, much less. You might even find the joint before it closes.
The problem with the SETI search is that it uses telescopes, and telescopes like the Allen Telescope Array
or the Arecibo Observatory
, only look at a small part of the sky at any one time. In fact, all the radio observatories in the world put together are only looking at a tiny sliver of the sky. If an ET beacon is transmitted for a short time while you are looking at another part of the sky (which you almost certainly are), you would completely miss it. We can dream about adding more telescopes to the search, but we would need a ridiculous number to cover the whole sky at once - or would we?