SETIcon II This Weekend, Lots of Prime Telescope Time

SETIcon II Event: This weekend the SETI Institute presents SETIcon II, in Santa Clara, California, US. It’s billed as ” a unique, entertaining and enlightening public event where science and imagination meet” on the event website. It looks to me like it will fill that bill and I wish I could have attended. If I lived anywhere near the Bay Area… road-trip, most definitely. It will feature SETILive in one of the many interesting exhibits. Other than it being of general interest to “SETIzen scientists” here at SETILive, it also means our “Telescope Active” time is going a bit off the normal routine for about a week, but there’s a good reason…

Lots of Prime Weekend Telescope Time: We normally observe the Kepler star field, looking for signals from specific stars determined by the Kepler project to have planets likely in the liquid water-based habitable zone. That star field is currently only above the horizon and visible from the ATA from late evening to mid-morning US time, and the other time is filled by other observing projects looking at different parts of the sky. By lending some SETILive active time from late evening and morning sessions during weekdays this week and next  to other ATA projects, the SETI Institute can give it back to SETILive this weekend for a pretty full daytime schedule in the Americas and from late afternoon to early morning east of the Atlantic. They’re filling the US daytime schedule this weekend by feeding us data from other exoplanet candidates outside the Kepler field when it’s below the horizon. So,  SETIcon II attendees will be able to see it work and work with it themselves using live data and of course, you can get on and classify  live data this weekend at times you aren’t normally be able to.

You can see the upcoming schedule along with the current status, as always, at  setiquest.info.

BTW: Telescope Active Window Slowly Shifts: By the way, and speaking of active telescope windows, six months from now the Kepler viewing window, and therefore our “Telescope Active” times, will have shifted by 12 hours and will be pretty much all during daytime hours in US . The apparent motions of Kepler field stars in the sky, like all extra-solar objects are due to  the true rotation period of the Earth, the sidereal day which is about 4 minutes shorter than our solar day. In six months, this small shift accumulates to half of a day, or 12 hours.

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