Solar flares postpone SETI@home re-observation

After one day of re-observing promising radio sources at the Arecibo radio telescope, the SETI@home project has been bumped from the telescope’s observing schedule until next Monday, March 24, so that researchers can observe a rare solar flare. Dan Werthimer, chief scientist of SETI@home and a physicist at the University of California, Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory, said, “It happens about once every two years at Arecibo that they have to bump everyone so they can observe a flare.” The change in plans was caused by the eruption of two solar flares on Monday and Tuesday (March 17 and 18). Similar events in the past have been known to interfere with communications and global positioning satellites.