RADIO AND OPTICAL SETI FROM THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE
Guillermo A. Lemarchand
Center for Radiophysics and Space Research,
Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853
Gregory M. Beskin
Special Astrophysical Observatory
Nizhnij Arkhyz, Stavropol Territory,
F. Raul Colomb
Instituto Argentino de Radioastronomia
C.C.5, 1984-Villa Elisa,
Observatorio Astronomico de La Plata,
Paseo del Bosque, 1900-La Plata,
A review of the SETI activities in the southern hemisphere over the past three decades is made. A description of the META II program, that is carried out from the Instituto Argentino de Radioastronomia (IAR), and that is continuously scanning the southern skies is described. META (Megachannel Extraterrestrial Assay) is an 8.4 million channels spectrum analyzer with a spectral resolution of 0.05 Hz, working at the 1,420 MHz hydrogen line at the Oak Ridge Harvard radio-observatory and at IAR.
A description of the first optical SETI observing program from the southern hemisphere is made. For this purpose a high temporal resolution device called MANIA (Multichannel Analyzer of Nanosecond Intensity Alterations) will be used at the 2.15 m telescope of CASLEO (Complejo Astronomico El LEOncito) in the San Juan province in Argentina.
MANIA was developed by Prof. V.F. Shvartsman from the Special Astrophysical Observatory in Russia in the mid-seventies. This instrument allows the study of light curves of astrophysical objects. It determines the photon arrival time with an accuracy of 10-8 sec, the dead time being 10-7 sec. The maximum intensity of the incoming photon flux is near 30,000 counts/sec. All the information on the photon arrival times is stored in the computer memory and subsequent mathematical processing allows detection of brightness fluctuations down to 10-7 sec. A set of almost forty nearby stars and several objects with strange physical properties, of the southern hemisphere, were selected to be observed, in the near future with this configuration from CASLEO.