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First Light

First Light is an astronomical term for the first use of a glass or a radio telescope

The works on this page are the result of research into radio signals and receivers, especially in relation to the search for extraterrestrial intelligent life


Various VLF (Very Low Frequency) radio telescopes from branches and copper wire, which can detect Sferics, Tweeks and Whislters in the atmosphere around the Earth

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Drake's equation is a  mathematical formula by radio astronomer Frank Drake. The formula estimates the number of intelligent civilizations in the galaxy that could communicate with us via radio waves

N    : The number of civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy whose electromagnetic emissions are detectable.


R*   : The rate of formation of stars suitable for the development of intelligent life (number per year).


fp   : The fraction of those stars with planetary systems.


ne   : The number of planets, per solar system, with an environment suitable for life.


fl    : The fraction of suitable planets on which life actually appears.


fi    : The fraction of life bearing planets on which intelligent life emerges.


fc    : The fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that produces detectable signs of their existence.


L    : The average length of time such civilizations produce such signs (years).

Hydrogen Line

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The hydrogen line (1420.40575 MHz) is the precession frequency of neutral hydrogen atoms, the most abundant substance in space. It is located in the quietest part of the radio spectrum, what's known as the Microwave Window. 


Although there may not seem to be a lot of loose hydrogen atoms in the universe (there's perhaps one per cubic centimeter of interstellar space), the interstellar medium contains a lot of cubic centimeters. These individual atoms chirping away at 1420 MHz make a chorus, which can be detected by even small radio telescopes.


In 1959 scientists thought that the hydrogen line would be a likely frequency for interstellar beacons. They stated that more advanced civilizations might be listening there. 

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Radio telescopes from floor isolation material and wood, tin can, a software defined radio (SDR) and a filter for 1.420 GHZ, laptop.

Schumann Resonance

Schumann resonances are peaks in the ELF (Extreme Low Frequency) part of the electromagnetic spectrum, which occur in the Earth's atmosphere. They were predicted by Winfried Otto Schumann in 1952 and demonstrated in the 1960s.

The main source of Schumann resonances are lightning worldwide. On average, there are 50 lightning discharges per second. The electric current from each discharge creates a pulse of electromagnetic radiation. These pulses then propagate through the atmosphere between Earth and ionosphere

As a result a standing wave occurs around the earth at a frequency 7.83 Hz.

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The WOW-Signal


It was on the hydrogen line that in 1977 the Big Ear radio telescope at the Ohio State Radio Observatory detected the so-called

"Wow!" signal, the most intriguing SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) candidate signal to date.

The signal was in a spectrum that does not occur in nature. It lasted 72 seconds and had never been detected before. Astronomer Jerry Ehman looked over the radio data and noticed the anomalous measurement results. He circles the signal and writes the telling 'Wow!' in the margin. To this date the signal has not been observed again and its origin remains unexplained.

Double Pulsar

Two bicycle led lights flicker on slightly different frequencies. The light  is being transformed to CV (Control Voltage). This triggers a solenoid that hits a tambourine. The CV also triggers a DC motor that drives a cassetterecorder with a bird sound. This self generating sound is being transferred into a radio signal and sent into space. 


Double Pulsar (2021) | bicycle lights (red and white), light sensor, solenoid, cassetterecorder, bird sound cassette, speakers, Koma Electronics Field Kit + FX.

These works were made possible by Mondriaan Fund

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