Breakthrough Listen has declared at the International traveler Congress the commencement of a significant new program with the mierkat telescope in partnership with the South African uranology Observatory (SARAO).

Breakthrough Listen’s market survey can examine 1,000,000 individual stars – one,000 times the quantity of targets in any previous search – within the quietest a part of the radio-frequency spectrum, observation for signs of extraterrestrial technology. With the addition of MeerKAT’s observations to its existing surveys, Listen can operate twenty four hours each day, seven days per week, in parallel with alternative surveys

Built and operated by the South African uranology Observatory (SARAO), and inaugurated in Gregorian calendar month 2018, mierkat may be a powerful array of sixty four radio antennas within the remote Karoo Desert of South Africa. By partnering with SARAO, Breakthrough Listen gains access to 1 of the world’s premier perceptive facilities at radio wavelengths.

Signals from the sixty four dishes (each thirteen.5 meters in diameter) area unit combined electronically to yield a formidable combination of sensitivity, resolution and field of read on the sky. mierkat additionally is a precursor for the sq. klick Array, which can expand and enhance the present facility within the coming back decades, eventually spanning 1,000,000 sq. meters across South Africa and Australia to form out and away the world’s largest radio reflector.

Breakthrough Listen’s involvement adds the potential to go looking for technosignatures – signals that indicate the presence of technology on associate alien world, and thus give proof that intelligent life exists elsewhere. mierkat was created in pursuit of variety of key science goals, from measurement distant galaxies, learning explosive events like supernovae and mapping the distribution of gas gas within the early universe.

As at alternative facilities enterprise Listen’s radio search, the new capabilities are enabled by the newest digital instrumentation put in by scientists and engineers from the University of Golden State, Berkeley, SETI centre (BSRC). not like the case with the inexperienced Bank and Parkes telescopes, however, the Breakthrough Listen team can seldom use mierkat as its sole observer.

Rather, observations can occur in an exceedingly commensal mode – at identical time as alternative astronomy programs. victimisation refined process, Breakthrough Listen scientists can digitally purpose the telescope at targets of interest. this implies that the Breakthrough Listen instrument at mierkat are in operation virtually unendingly, scanning the skies for signs of intelligent life.

Justin Jonas, Chief mortal at SARAO, said, They  designed mierkat to be a versatile instrument that might give normal interfaces to user-supplied instrumentality and additionally provide commensal perceptive. it’s terribly satisfying that these 2 style components have created the Breakthrough Listen project attainable, providing a major growth of the initial mierkat practicality.”