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The utilization of pulsars as SETI beacons

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 March 2004

William H. Edmondson
School of Computer Science, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK e-mail:
Ian R. Stevens
School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK e-mail:


This paper proposes that pulsars can serve as beacons for the discovery of and communication with extraterrestrials. The motivation for the communication strategy proposed is discussed in detail, along with relevant astrophysical considerations. It is shown that millisecond pulsars have characteristics and a distribution in space that make it possible to envisage communication being targeted towards and away from habstars (as defined by Turnbull & Tarter) aligned with pulsars in a specified way. Lists of candidate habstars and their pulsar alignments are included for those wishing to conduct searches using the strategy described.

Research Article
© 2003 Cambridge University Press

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