A Green Bank Telescope Search for Narrowband Technosignatures between 1.1 and 1.9 GHz During 12 Kepler Planetary Transits

Sofia Z. Sheikh, Shubham Kanodia, Emily Lubar, William P. Bowman, Caleb I. Cañas, Christian Gilbertson, Mariah G. MacDonald, Jason Wright, David MacMahon, Steve Croft, Danny Price, Andrew Siemion, Jamie Drew, S. Pete Worden, Elizabeth Trenholm

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3 Scopus citations


Agrowing avenue for determining the prevalence of life beyond Earth is to search for "technosignatures"from extraterrestrial intelligences/agents. Technosignatures require significant energy to be visible across interstellar space and thus intentional signals might be concentrated in frequency, in time, or in space, to be found in mutually obvious places. Therefore, it could be advantageous to search for technosignatures in parts of parameter space that are mutually derivable to an observer on Earth and a distant transmitter. In this work, we used the L-band (1.1-1.9 GHz) receiver on the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope to perform the first technosignature search presynchronized with exoplanet transits, covering 12 Kepler systems. We used the Breakthrough Listen turboSETI pipeline to flag narrowband hits (∼3 Hz) using a maximum drift rate of ±614.4 Hz s-1 and a signal-to-noise threshold of 5 - the pipeline returned ∼3.4 × 105 apparently-localized features. Visual inspection by a team of citizen scientists ruled out 99.6% of them. Further analysis found two signals of interest that warrant follow up, but no technosignatures. If the signals of interest are not redetected in future work, it will imply that the 12 targets in the search are not producing transit-aligned signals from 1.1 to 1.9 GHz with transmitter powers >60 times that of the former Arecibo radar. This search debuts a range of innovative technosignature techniques: citizen science vetting of potential signals of interest, a sensitivity-aware search out to extremely high drift rates, a more flexible method of analyzing on-off cadences, and an extremely low signal-to-noise threshold.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number61
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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