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SERENDIP (Search for Extraterrestrial Radio Emissions from Nearby Developed Intelligent Populations) is a Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) program originated at the University of California, Berkeley.[1]

SERENDIP takes advantage of ongoing "mainstream" radio telescope observations as a "piggy-back" or "commensal" program. Rather than having its own observation program, SERENDIP analyzes deep space radio telescope data that it obtains while other astronomers are using the telescope.


The initial SERENDIP instrument was a 100-channel analog radio spectrometer covering 100 kHz of bandwidth. Subsequent instruments have been significantly more capable, with the number of channels doubling roughly every year. These instruments have been deployed at a large number of telescopes including the NRAO 90m telescope at Green Bank and the Arecibo 305m telescope.

SERENDIP observations have been conducted at frequencies between 400 MHz and 5 GHz, with most observations near the so-called Cosmic Water Hole (1.42 GHz (21 cm) neutral hydrogen and 1.66 GHz hydroxyl transitions). The SERENDIP project is currently being operated in collaboration with Cornell University under the direction of Dan Werthimer.


The most recently deployed SERENDIP spectrometer, SERENDIP V.v, was installed at the Arecibo Observatory in June 2009 and is currently operational. The digital back-end instrument is an FPGA-based 128 million-channel digital spectrometer covering 200 MHz of bandwidth. It takes data commensally with the seven-beam Arecibo L-band Feed Array[2] (ALFA).

The next generation of SERENDIP experiments, SERENDIP VI, is in rapid development with a view to deploy it in early 2014 at both Arecibo and the Green Bank Telescope. SERENDIP VI will also look for fast radio bursts.[3] SERENDIP VI receivers went into service in 2014-2015.[4]


The program has found around 400 suspicious signals, but there is not enough data to prove that they belong to extraterrestrial intelligence.[5] The most interesting signal «Wow!» was recorded in August 1977 but it was observed for only a very short time and disappeared before it had been identified.[6] In September–October 2004 the media wrote about Radio source SHGb02+14a and its artificial origin, but scrutiny has not been able to confirm its connection with an extraterrestrial civilization.[7] Currently no confirmed extraterrestrial signals have been found.[8]

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