About GAVRT SETI Data Analysis Reports
The purpose of the data analysis reports is to allow the science team (including you and your fellow students) to easily compare repeated observations of the same patch of sky (called a "skyframe"). We're looking for candidates which show up at about the same time and frequency, in repeated skyframes. Each skyframe observation is saved as a datasource file; repeated skyframes will appear as datasources with the same first 8 characters in the name, like spc00599_20140113_103629 and spc00599_20140218_085502. Because each skyframe follows the same search pattern, a candidate which shows up at the same time in a repeated skyframe may have come from the same position in the sky. A candidate which repeats in position and frequency could be a real signal from a distant star.

Not everyone uses the exact same format, but the analysis reports are typically broken up into 4 sections:
  1. The header section, at the top of the report, gives information about which skyframe was observed, when the data were collected, the datasource, and who did the observing. This is necessary in order to recognize which reports should be compared with each other, and is also useful if you have questions and need to contact the people who collected the data and wrote the report.
  2. The Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) section gives information about interference signals which you have identified and removed. This lets you know in which channels we're "blind" (or can't trust what we see) because of RFI, and also allows for a better understanding of potential signals. For example, if you have what looks like a good candidate in a skyframe today, but it falls in a channel which contains RFI in most of the observations from other days (datasources for different skyframes), you might suspect that it too is RFI.
  3. The Possible Noise or Interference section is for events which you really don't think are good candidates, but don't have sufficient evidence to be ruled out. Basically, this is where the weird-looking stuff goes, to encourage everyone to think about it, look for patterns, and try to figure out what's going on.
  4. The Candidates section, of course, is where you put events which just might be radio signals from extraterrestrial intelligence. If they're brighter than the background noise, or they repeat with just the right timing to be coming from adjacent scan lines (remember the racetrack scan pattern), and you can't rule them out as RFI or an instrumental problem, then they get listed here.
What we hope to find is a candidate which appears in multiple observations of the same skyframe, at the same time and frequency. Anything which appears twice is probably worth following up with repeated observations of that particular skyframe, so if you find a repeat please contact the Ops team at the Lewis Center immediately, and notify me at

Thanks for helping with the GAVRT SETI project!
Steve Levin
-Steve Levin
GAVRT Lead Scientist