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Stellar Transmitter


Robert A. Metzger




This paper explores the possibilities of OSETI signals being generated by the manipulation of a star's optical output through the use of a membrane that possesses variable optical characteristics (transparent or reflective).  An example will be shown of a circular membrane structure with a diameter of 3 million km placed in a 30 million km orbit around a typical Sol-like star. In such an orbit, if the membrane were placed in its reflective mode, to a distant observer, the star would appear to vanish for a period of 9 hours as the membrane passed between the observer and the star.  During this 9-hour transit the membrane's optical state can be toggled from transparent to reflective modes, thereby transmitting information.  Such a system would be limited to data rates of approximately 1 bit/sec owing to travel time differences between signals propagating from the center of the membrane as compared to those from the edge of the membrane (a 5-light second distance).  But even at this data rate, 32,000 bits of information would be transmitted during the 9-hour transit.  Including the effects of interstellar absorption, such a transmitter would deliver 2 x 106 photons/sec into a 5 m receiver located 1000 LY away, and 20 photons/sec at a distance of 100,000 LY, making this approach suitable for galactic-spanning transmissions.


OSETI, Solar Transmitter, Sun.


  • The paper (author Web site)


Author Biography

Robert Metzger received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering at UCLA in 1983.  He has worked at the Hughes Research Laboratories and the Georgia Institute of Technology in the development of thin film technologies for high speed electronic devices.  Currently President of Quad W Associates his activities are divided between writing (both non-fiction and fiction - he recently completed a SF novel entitled Picoverse) and a diverse area of research interests that include semiconductor devices, carbon sequestering techniques to mitigate the effects of global warming, and laser-based space propulsion systems.


Principal Author Affiliation

Quad W Associates
6605 Williamson Dr. NE
Atlanta , GA 30328
Phone: (404) 705-8475
Fax: (404) 255-9867
Email: rametzger@aol.com


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