Can I listen to the SETI@home radio signal? (Beginner)

I have Downloaded the SETI program at my home on 2 different computers, it's great. I was wondering and looking, if there is any SETI like program that lets you not only see the radio waves but hear it also ?

Not that I know of. And in fact, such a thing couldn't exist, because you can't actually "hear" radio waves. Radio waves are electromagnetic radiation (just like visible light, except with longer wavelengths). You can't hear them.

Despite the insistence of Hollywood, the media, and your everyday experience with your radio, there's nothing about radio waves that makes them equivalent to sound. What happens with your radio is that the radio station's transmitter is encoding information in the radio signal (modulating it in either frequency or amplitude) that gets decoded by your radio so that it knows what sounds to make. There's no reason to believe that the ET's would be doing the same thing. And, even if they were, we'd have no idea how to decode it to figure out what the sounds are supposed to be.

If you were to try turn the SETI signal into sound using the same method as a radio, it would just sound like noise—probably even if there was a real signal from aliens.

This page was last updated June 27, 2015.

About the Author

Christopher Springob

Christopher Springob

Chris studies the large scale structure of the universe using the peculiar velocities of galaxies.  He got his PhD from Cornell in 2005, and is now a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Western Australia.

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