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All-sky search for Intelligent Life with COSMIC and the VLA

Presentation #338.03 in the session Large Surveys, Programs and Catalogs.

Published onJul 01, 2023
All-sky search for Intelligent Life with COSMIC and the VLA

The search for technological life beyond Earth is a large-scale search for unidentified spectral-temporal signatures. Most searches for these electromagnetic “technosignatures” thus far have required dedicated time on instruments. The new digital back end on the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) is designed to commensally observe the sky during observations and process the data in real time to look for these unique signals. The system named COSMIC (the Commensal Open-source Multimode Interferometric Cluster) employs ethernet packet protocols, real-time calibration strategies, coherent and incoherent beamforming, and open-source doppler search algorithms to complete this goal at 0.2ms and 8Hz resolutions. In collaboration with NRAO and the VLA sky-survey team, we are recording during the epoch 3 of the survey for one of the first all-sky searches for extraterrestrial signals, with the sensitivity improvements allowed by such a powerful telescope. In this poster we will demonstrate the hardware and software structures of COSMIC, how it works, and our first results. We will also elicit input from the astronomy community on how a commensal system at the VLA could be leveraged to benefit your science.

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