RFO Speaker Series: The LaserSETI project with Eliot Gillum

  • Thu, May 26, 2022 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Pacific Standard Time

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Join RFO and Eliot Gillum for the SETI Institute for an informative conversation on the LaserSETI project!


LaserSETI is an ambitious project to continuously scan the whole sky for laser flashes from beyond the Earth-Moon system, ostensibly from another civilization.  The first two instruments in this global network were setup on the roof of RFO in August of 2019, and the second two installed on Haleakala, Maui in August of last year. LaserSETI has helped move the field of SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) into “time domain astronomy,” where the sky isn’t assumed to be static and unchanging, spurred by the recent discoveries in radio astronomy of Fast Radio Bursts and in physics of Gravity Waves. This talk will give an overview of the science underpinnings as well as design of the LaserSETI project and instruments.


Eliot Gillum is the principal investigator for the LaserSETI project, homed at the SETI Institute.  His childhood love of astronomy was rekindled at Cornell, where he received a degree in Computer Science, during an elective course on astronomy in which Frank Drake gave a guest lecture. Further inspired by an alumni talk from Jill Tarter a few years later, Eliot started what would become the LaserSETI project in 2015, after a 15-year career at Microsoft. Today, he runs the project out of his home office and workshop in San Francisco, supported by Dr. Tarter and many other talented and dedicated individuals.



Date & Time

Thu, May 26, 2022 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Robert Ferguson Observatory

The Valley of the Moon Observatory Association (VMOA) is volunteer amateur and professional astronomers plus a small supporting staff organized as a nonprofit association to provide educational programs about science and astronomy for students, the public, and in support of educators.

The VMOA is responsible for the construction, maintenance and utilization of the Robert Ferguson Observatory and functions as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization under the auspices of the California State Parks System, and in cooperation with our local state parks.

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