?still going on! – Einstein@Home, launched in 2005 and based at the University of Wisconsin and the Albert Einstein Institute in Germany, is one of the world’s largest public volunteer distributed computing projects. More than 200,000 people have signed up for the project and donated time on their computers to search gravitational wave data for signals from unknown pulsars. In other words, they’re searching for ET.

The project is beginning to analyze data from the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, which is the largest single-aperture radio telescope on the planet and is used for studies of pulsars, galaxies, solar system objects, and the earth’s atmosphere.

Researcher Bruce Allen says, “While our long-term goal is to detect gravitational waves, in the shorter-term we hope to discover at least a few new radio pulsars per year, which should be a lot of fun for Einstein@Home participants and should also be very interesting for astronomers. We expect that most of the project’s participants will be eager to do both types of searches.” Einstein@Home participants will automatically receive work for both the radio and gravitational-wave searches.

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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