Developing An Interferometric SETI Capability Using e-MERLIN

  • James Fawcett

Student thesis: Master of Science by Research


A very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) approach to the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence (SETI) has many advantages including natural radio frequency interference (RFI) mitigation, high angular resolution and the invariant nature of candidate signals in generated images. However, VLBI observations of potential SETI targets have yet to be realised. Observations have been made using e-MERLIN and the European VLBI Network (EVN) to explore how high spectral and temporal resolution data could be analysed to conduct follow-up observations of interesting candidate ETI signals. The main target for this study was Kepler-111, a Sun-like star orbited by two planets. Analysis of e-MERLIN data phase centred on Kepler-111 showed no candidate ETI signals of statistical significance. From our results we place upper limits on the EIRP for a potential civilisation broadcasting from this planetary system at 2.16 x 10^20 W for broad-band signals and 2.11 x 10^17 W for narrow-band signals, although directive antennas would reduce these power requirements. These results can be improved by analysing the high-resolution EVN data, yet to be correlated.
Date of Award31 Dec 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorMichael Garrett (Supervisor) & Rene Breton (Supervisor)


  • SETI
  • interferometry
  • e-MERLIN
  • radio
  • VLBI
  • EVN
  • Kepler

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