Breakthrough Listen: Radio Searches of the Galactic Center


The Breakthrough Listen program is undertaking a comprehensive survey of the Galactic Center, which will be one of the most sensitive and deepest targeted SETI surveys ever conducted. In our new paper, accepted for publication in the Astronomical Journal, we outline the strategies we will use to observe the Galactic Center and surrounding bulge using the Green Bank and Parkes telescopes. We also report preliminary results from an initial 18 hours of observations, which enable us to place meaningful constraints, for the first time, on the presence of strong transmitters at the Galactic Center, in addition to around 60 million stars in the field of view. We also detected hundreds of bursts from a known magnetar orbiting the black hole at the center of the Galaxy, and place limits on the presence of bursts from other such sources.

A non-technical video describing the project is available on YouTube.

If you have the requisite technical background, we invite you to read our new paper, and to download the datasets from the initial observations (search for "BLGCSurvey") if you wish to explore them or to perform your own analyses.

Much of our software is publicly available, including blimpy, a tool for loading filterbank, hdf5, and raw format data files, turboSETI, a tool for performing Doppler drift searches, and SPANDAK, a tool for searching for dispersed transient signals.

You can also download the background art seen here (Credit: Breakthrough Listen / Danielle Futselaar):
full size.tif | medium size .jpg | medium size .pdf | small size .jpg

Background Art by Danielle Futselaar