Our ‘Oumuamua observation campaign will begin on Wednesday, December 13 at 3:00 pm ET. Using the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope, we will observe ‘Oumuamua across four radio bands, from 1 to 12 GHz. Our first phase of observations will last a total of 10 hours, divided into four “epochs” based on the object’s period of rotation.
‘Oumuamua is now about 2 astronomical units (AU) away—that’s equal to twice the distance between Earth and the Sun—placing the interstellar interloper more than 50 times closer than the Voyager I spacecraft. At this distance, the Green Bank instrument could detect an omnidirectional transmitter on ‘Oumuamua with the power of a cellphone in under a minute of observing.
Even if no signal or other evidence of extraterrestrial technology is heard, Listen observations could provide important information about the possibility of water/ice, or the chemistry of a coma (gaseous envelope), neither of which have yet been identified.
Image credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser