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Optical SETI in Australia


Ragbir Bhathal




In the 1960s the Russian scientist, Nikolai Kardashev put forward the hypothesis that ETI civilizations would go through three stages in the development of their societies.  He called them Type 1, Type II and Type III civilizations.  His analysis was based on the progressive utilization of increasing amounts of energy.  In a similar vein one can usefully discuss the evolution of civilizations with respect to their communicative power.  It is proposed that ETI civilizations will pass through the mechanical, electrical and quantum or optical stages in the development of their communications capability.

The OZ OSETI project is based on the assumption that ETI civilizations have surpassed the radio threshold and moved into the quantum or optical phase of communications.  The initial plans for the project are to search 200 southern stars, 25 globular clusters and a few galaxies.  To date about 20 stars and 5 globular clusters have been searched but no optical ETI signals have been detected.

The OZ OSETI project has also been used to conduct the first SETI based course in any University in Australia.  It is one of the most popular courses at the University and has produced behavioral changes in student attitudes to received as opposed to experimental knowledge.



OZ OSETI, optical SETI, southern circumpolar stars, southern globular stars.


  • The paper (author Web site)


Principal Author Biography

Dr Ragbir Bhathal is an award winning author and astrophysicist.  Arising from his work on national projects of significance, the National Library of Australia has created the "Dr Ragbir Bhathal Collection" which is listed on the National Bibliographic Index.  He was organizing chairman of the International Conference on SETI in the 21st Century held in Sydney in January 1998 and was guest editor of a special issue of the international journal Acta Astronautica which was devoted to SETI.  Dr. Bhathal is also the co-chair for this conference.  He is the Director of the OZ OSETI project and was Foundation Chairman of the SETI Australia Centre.

Principal Author Affiliation

OZ OSETI Project, University of Western Sydney
University of Western Sydney, PO Box 555
Campbelltown, Sydney , NSW 2560
Phone: 61 2 4620 3010
Fax: 61 2 4620 3025
Email: r.bhathal@uws.edu.au


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