Setigen: Simulating Radio Technosignatures for SETI

18 Mar 2022  ·  Bryan Brzycki, Andrew P. V. Siemion, Imke de Pater, Steve Croft, John Hoang, Cherry Ng, Danny C. Price, Sofia Z. Sheikh, Zihe Zheng ·

The goal of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) is the detection of non-human technosignatures, such as technology-produced emission in radio observations. While many have speculated about the character of such technosignatures, radio SETI fundamentally involves searching for signals that not only have never been detected, but also have a vast range of potential morphologies. Given that we have not yet detected a radio SETI signal, we must make assumptions about their form to develop search algorithms. The lack of positive detections also makes it difficult to test these algorithms' inherent efficacy. To address these challenges, we present Setigen, a Python-based, open-source library for heuristic-based signal synthesis and injection for both spectrograms (dynamic spectra) and raw voltage data. Setigen facilitates the production of synthetic radio observations, interfaces with standard data products used extensively by the Breakthrough Listen project (BL), and focuses on providing a physically-motivated synthesis framework compatible with real observational data and associated search methods. We discuss the core routines of Setigen and present existing and future use cases in the development and evaluation of SETI search algorithms.

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Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics