Information About the SETI Plug-in
What does the SETI display in Starry Night
The SETI plug-in for Starry Night shows you where in the sky the SETI@Home
screen saver on your computer is currently looking. You run
the plug-in by choosing "Go->Center/Update SETI Position" from
the Starry Night menu. You need to have the SETI@Home screensaver
running on your computer for this plug-in to work. In addition
to showing you where SETI@Home is currently searching, the plug-in
also shows you where the highest signals have been found so far.
The square (on the left side of the above image) with the 'telephone
poles' in it is the area of the sky that the your copy of SETI
program is currently searching for alien signal in. When the SETI
program is looking for signals, one of the indicators of a possible
signal is known as a spike. Each telephone pole on the display
corresponds to one or more of these spikes. The resolution of the
Arecibo radio telescope is such that we only know the location
of the spike along the long axis of the box. Thus a spike is could
really be from any object above or under the telephone pole. For
instance, in the diagram below, it is entirely possible that the
largest spike in the center could be some sort of signal from the
star TYC1845-3650-1, just above it. Keep in mind that almost all
spikes found turn out to be from natural or earth-made signals.
Each telephone pole structure has from one to many horizontal bars
running across it. Each bar corresponds to one spike. The color
of the bar corresponds to the frequency of the spike with respect
to the central frequency that this SETI block is searching. Blue
bars are from signals that had a frequency above the central frequency
(blue-shift), while yellow spikes are near the central frequency
and reddish ones would be from lower frequencies.
The text display off to the right of the box has more statistical
data about your search:
Percentage done: How much
of the current work unit your computer has finished, and how much
time it has spent getting this far.
Highest spike power: The power of the highest spike found in your
data set. The spike at 503 in this example corresponds to the big spike near
the middle of the search area. The search area always has its top at 1000,
so 503 puts it up about half way.
Best spike score: The score of
the highest spike is a number that the SETI group uses to pick out
the most important spikes.
Highest gaussian power: A gaussian
is a rounded off spike that has a shape that better fits what a real
signal might look like as the signal passes through the beam of the
Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico.
Best gaussian score: A score assigned
to the gaussian by the SETI team. Best power over time graph: This
graph shows the actual data for the best gaussian that your SETI screen
saver has found. If you have a high gaussian power, you should see
a 'mountain' shape in the raw data on this graph.
More SETI info...: This is the
link to this page. If you click here, your web browser should go to
our web site where you can learn more about SETI.
SETI Plug-in Support
You can go to the SETI Plug-in Support page
and download the latest SETI plug-in for Starry Night.