Project Dorothy

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Dorothy tinman scarecrow.png

Project Dorothy was a worldwide joint SETI observation[1] that celebrated of the 50th anniversary of Project OZMA.[2] The name Dorothy is a reference to the story "The Wizard of Oz." The astronomer Shin-ya Narusawa of Nishi-Harima Astronomical Observatory in Japan is responsible for launching Project Dorothy. Participation consisted of 27 relevant authorities in 15 countries from 6 continents (missing was Antarctica). Some of the observatories included Arecibo, the Allen Telescope Array, and Green Bank.



Quote from Frank Drake:

β€œIt is thrilling for me to witness the beginnings of Project Dorothy, the continuation of my search of fifty years ago. To have so many talented people using so many telescopes in this new search, with the electronics and computer equipment of today, is a joyful thing to me. The equipment of today is far better than what we could have fifty years ago, and will result in both very much better and very much more data than could be obtained then.”


Project Dorothy was composed of four observation runs on the dates:

  1. November 5-7 2010
  2. November 23-26 2010
  3. March 3 2011
  4. November 2011? (tentative)

The SETI Institute participated in the first run.


Five official target stars were observed in the optical, microwave, and LOFAR frequencies. A sixth target is a special setiQuest bonus.

The SETI Institute's Project Dorothy observations have been uploaded to setiQuest's setiQuest Data section and are available for your analysis. The observations were done on November 5th and 6th at the 1420 MHz frequency. The older Prelude signal analyzer was used instead of SonATA. Data from each target star was collected for 30 minutes at a 8 MHz wide bandwidth of 8-bit quadrature samples. The individual target datasets are each 32.7 GB in size which makes the entire set 196 GB!


Unfortunately parallel OFF beams were not captured so post-observation signal verification of the collected data is not possible. According to the meta timestamps three of the Nov 6th datasets (Epsilon Eridani, Eta Arietis, HD 69830) were collected back-to-back so drifting RFI should overlap datasets. While not as good as true OFF beams they will be a useful RFI discrimination tool.


Here are several Project Dorothy observation summary reports:

  1. Spectral line analysis with 500 Hz resolution over 8.7 MHz
  2. Autocorrelation analysis with 1 microsecond resolution over 250 ms
  3. Spectral analysis of power versus time (500 Hz / 8.7 MHz)
  4. Autocorrelation of power versus time (1 microsec / 250 ms)
Conclusion: No candidate signals were identified. However, some new RFI was discovered in a larger study of setiQuest data that included Dorothy data. These RFI features show up in autocorrelation of the data, sometimes as solitary spikes and sometimes as combs of spikes. In all cases, these signals appeared in more than one pointing (hence local RFI) or did not show up in repeated observations hence are classified as RFI.


  1. ↑
  2. ↑

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