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Astrobiology and Spectroscopy
Kah-Siew Ho, Imran Malik, and Mela Poonacha

The ASRG has joined Project Argus, a worldwide microwave sky survey coordinated by the SETI League, a privately funded research foundation. The hydrogen line telescope is based on a parabolic reflector dish and a cylindrical feed-horn cavity and low-noise amplifier (LNA), and can be adjusted in azimuth and elevation to view the full sky. The telescope can monitor over 10,000 channels simultaneously for narrowband microwave signals - signals assumed to be of intelligent origin. Both human-assisted and completely automated signal screening methods are being employed to achieve faster data screening rates. Data are also screened for outbursts from Mira variable stars, pulsars, and comets, which also have signals in the same microwave region.

A near-infrared optical telescope with an aperture of one-meter has been constructed to detect interstellar laser transmissions. The near-IR telescope (4760 to 25000 cm-1) is being operated at the University of Kentucky. The telescope comprises a one meter visible / near-IR Fresnel lens, an aluminum compound parabolic concentrator, tilting interference filters, a robot for detector translation and star tracking, a liquid nitrogen Dewar and detectors (PbS, InSb, and InGaAs) and a 50 MHz preamplifier with 26 dB gain (max. data rate approximately 3 Gb per minute). Autocorrelation and cross-correlation are applied in screening the data collected.

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