Friday 10th October. 7.30pm at Mills Observatory
Our first meeting of the season featured as our guest speaker Alan Penny of St Andrews University who discussed an update on the latest developments in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.
The discussion was light hearted and well illustrated and showed the mathematical chances that lead from the creation of the first one celled life to the final step of intelligent life and the chances of similar conditions that might lead to the creation of intelligent species on other planets within our own and other galaxies. The talk covered how we have attempted to utilise existing technology to discover extra terrestrial intelligence and the problems and logistics involved in visitng, or being visited, by other intelligences, or indeed if we have already been visited by such advanced inetlligences, would they be watching us now and if so from where. The estimated cost and time involved in reaching other galaxies was discussed and the technology that has existed for some time to achieve interstellar travel.
Alan gave an interesting and revealing talk which led to a quick-fire question and answer session. Many thanks, Andrew for a fine start to our winter season.
Andrew is an Honorary Reader and Visiting Scientist in the Astronomy Group of the School of Physics and Astronomy in the University of St Andrews, and has worked extensively into the search for extra terrestrial life, has worked on stellar photometry of bright stars and extra-solar planets. He is the Co-ordinator of the UK SETI Research Network as well as being the Organiser of the SETI Sessions at the July 2013 NAM2013 meeting.
He is also PI of a team investigating the use of the LOFAR radio telescope for SETI whose first spectrum at 1 Hz resolution was obtained on 2010 April 7. This is part of a programme to determine the sensitivity and ability to discriminate against terrestrial sources of LOFAR in SETI mode. If this programme produces positive results there are plans for an observing campaign of nearby stars.
Full details of Alan's publications and research can be found on the St. Andrews web site
The rest of the evening was taken up by a short rotund chap who discussed our new website.
Alan waits patiently whilst the projector is fixed. ... and insists Phil poses with him at the close of the talk.