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A Durban University of Technology teacher and his students have apparently found the first radio signal from outside our Solar System, possibly from an alien source.
Yes, you read it correctly the first time, but go ahead, read it again.
On the evening of July 28th, 2008, at 21h14 hours (local time) the Indlebe Radio Telescope, detected a strong source from Sagittarius A, the center of the Milky Way Galaxy, approximately 30 thousand light years away from Earth.
On the evening of 28th July 2008, at 21h14 local time the Indlebe Radio Telescope, situated on the Steve Biko campus of the Durban University of Technology, successfully detected its first radio source from beyond the solar system. A strong source was detected from Sagittarius A, the centre of the Milky Way Galaxy, approximately 30 thousand light years away.
To put this achievement into perspective, the energy gained by a grain of rice falling 2 cm in the earth's gravity to a plate is more than the total energy received by all the radio telescopes in the world operating since 1960.
The Indlebe project was initiated in 2006 by the Department of Electronic Engineering with the primary object of providing engineering projects and research opportunities to undergraduate and postgraduate students working on a real-world complex electronic system. A secondary objective was to provide a vehicle to increase awareness and interest of secondary school students in the fields of Science, Engineering and Technology (SET), and to promote local awareness of the celebration of the International Year of Astronomy in 2009 (IYA2009).
Indlebe is the Zulu word for ear, an appropriate name for the project when one views the 5 m diameter parabolic reflector antenna of the telescope from above. The telescope is a transit instrument which operates at the Hydrogen Line frequency of 1420 MHZ and uses a very sensitive radio receiver to detect extra terrestrial radio sources. A remarkable aspect of the project is that all the hardware, from the antenna and feedhorn to the final analog to digital converter providing a digital representation of the detected source to a PC, has been designed by students and constructed on campus. It is intended that the received data will shortly be made available in real time to interested persons who will be able to graph the data using freely available software.
Visit the Indlebe website at indlebe.dut.ac.za... or for further information contact the project leader Stuart MacPherson via email on firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on +27 31 373 2538.