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North American AstroPhysical Observatory (NAAPO)

Issue 2 Cover

Cosmic Search: Issue 2
(Volume 1 Number 2; March 1979)
[Miscellaneous items found throughout the magazine]

Information About the Publication
(Editorial Board, Editors, Table of Contents)

Graphic of Cosmic Search Logo

ISSN 0161-8555

Editorial Board

  • Richard Berendzen, University Provost, The American University
  • John Billingham, Director SETI Program, NASA-AMES Research Center
  • Ronald Bracewell, Director, Radio Astronomy Observatory, Stanford University
  • Thomas A. Clark, NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center
  • Arthur C. Clarke, Sri Lanka, author of "2001, A Space Odyssey"
  • Norman Cousins, Chairman, Editorial Board, SATURDAY REVIEW
  • Frank D. Drake, Director, National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center (Arecibo), Cornell University
  • Robert E. Edelson, SETI Project Manager, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
  • Donald S. Hall, Director, Strasenburgh Planetarium, Rochester, New York; President, International Planetarium Society
  • Theodore M. Hesburgh, President, University of Notre Dame
  • Nikolai Kardashev, Space Research Institute, Academy of Sciences, Moscow, USSR
  • Philip Morrison, Physics Department, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Bernard Oliver, Vice President, Hewlett-Packard Company; Director of NASA-Ames Cyclops Project
  • Cyril Ponnamperuma, Director, Laboratory of Chemical Evolution, University of Maryland
  • Martin Rees, Director, Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge University, England
  • Carl Sagan, Director, Laboratory for Planetary Studies, Cornell University
  • Walter Sullivan, Science Editor, New York Times
  • V. S. Troitsky, Radiophysical Scientific Research Institute, Gorky, USSR
  • Sebastian von Hoerner, National Radio Astronomy Observatory

Editors, and Others Involved in the Publication

Editors: Robert S. Dixon and John Kraus, Ohio State University Radio Observatory

Managing Editor: Mirjana Gearhart, Ohio State University Radio Observatory

Subscription Manager: Janet Stevens

Business Manager: Sylvia Raub

Controller: Lesly Arnold

Assistants: Richard Arnold, Gregory Brown, Ann Cole, Pene Curmode, Jerry R. Ehman, Wendy McKenna, David Raub, Hazel Snyder

The Cover

Front Cover Image

The Cover: Stonehenge and the RATAN-600. The drawing of Stonehenge (restored) was made about 1625 by Inigo Jones. The RATAN-600 is the world's largest continuous-surface radio telescope. The area of four Arecibo dishes would fit inside this Kraus-type telescope. Located near Zelenchukskaya, U.S.S.R., it will be used in searches for extraterrestrial intelligence.


COSMIC SEARCH is published 6 times a year by Cosmic-Quest, Inc. Copyright 1979 by Cosmic-Quest, Inc. All rights reserved.

Cosmic Quest, Inc., is a private non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion and support of SETI endeavors.

Subscription price: $12 a year in U.S. (and possessions), $16 elsewhere. Single copies: $2.50 in U.S. (and possessions), $3 elsewhere.

Address subscriptions and all other correspondence to: Radio Observatory, Box 293, Delaware, Ohio 43015.

Application to mail at second-class postage rates is pending at Delaware, Ohio, and at additional mailing offices.

Table of Contents (in magazine)

The Quest for Extraterrestrial Intelligence by Carl Sagan2
Circles of Stone and Circles of Steel by Don Lago10
Space Colonization and SETI — An exclusive interview with Gerard K. O'Neill16
The Case for SETI by Richard Berendzen25
Generalized Life by Jerome Rothstein35
Man's Role in the Galaxy by R. N. Bracewell48
       GlossaryInside Front Cover
       Next Issues14
       Editorial by Bernard Oliver15
       The SenTInel (SETI News)30
       ABCs of SETI39
       In Review47
       Off the Shelf52


The purpose of COSMIC SEARCH is to present all aspects of the search for intelligent life in space in a popular but responsible manner.

  • "The Possibilities of SETI from Space" by Roy Basler
  • "Neutrinos for Interstellar Communication" by Jay Pasachoff and Marc Kutner
  • "Interstellar Communication with Gravity Waves" by David Douglass
  • "Cosmic Languages" by Hans Freudenthal
  • "A Hymn to Life in the Universe" by Don Lago
  • "Strategies of Searching for Extraterrestrial Civilizations" by Nikolai Kardashev
  • "Extraterrestrial Life: Where is Everybody?" by Jesco von Puttkamer
  • "Minds and Millennia" by Michael Arbib
  • "Bio-Cosmology: A New NASA Thrust" by Bernard Oliver
  • "Extraterrestrial Politics" by Michael Michaud
  • "We Wait and Wonder" by John Kraus
  • FORUM:
    • Interview with scientist-philosopher John Archibald Wheeler on "Science, Art and the Universe"
    • Interview with NASA's SETI Director John Billingham on "SETI"
  • ABCs of SETI will explain in simple terms:
    • Stars (They are not all alike. Spectra and the sun-like stars)
    • SETI Wavelengths (The hydrogen line, the "waterholes," the Drake-Helou line, the Kuiper-Morris line, the Kardashev lines. Which one is best?)
    • Doppler shifts (Wavelengths are relative. The red shift)
    • Three degrees (The Big Bang Background)
    • Radio Telescopes (What do they hear?)
    • Range and Size (How far can a telescope reach?)
  • More SEnTlnel news reports, "Off the Shelf" books and other special features.

Cosmic Calendar

15 billion BCUniverse began (BIG BANG)
10 billion BCOur galaxy formed
5 billion BCSolar system (sun, earth and other planets) formed
2 million BCHomo sapiens emerged
5000 BCWriting invented
1888 ADHertz produced radio waves
1903 ADLetter "S" sent by radio waves across Atlantic Ocean by Marconi
1959 ADCocconi and Morrison proposed SETI
1960 ADFirst attempt to detect extraterrestrial civilizations by Drake
1979 ADFirst issue of COSMIC SEARCH

Distance Table
Distances in light travel time (approx.)

Earth to moon1 second
Earth to sun500 seconds (8 min.)
Sun to Mars12.5 minutes
Sun to Jupiter40 minutes
Sun to Pluto5.5 hours
Solar system diameter (at orbit of Pluto)11 hours
Sun to nearest star4 years
Sun to center of galaxy30,000 years
Diameter of galaxy100,000 years
Distance of Andromeda galaxy2 million years
Distance to "edge" of universe15 billion years

To convert light travel time to kilometers multiply travel time in seconds by velocity of light (300,000 kilometers per second).



Astronomical Unit:
A unit of length equal to the distance of the earth from the sun, about 150 million kilometers.

The wavelength or frequency range to which a receiver responds. Bandwidths can be described as narrow or wide, according to their range.

Big Bang:
The beginning event in the Universe. The explosion of this primordial fireball some 15 billion years ago caused the initial outward expansion of gas and dust which formed the universe. CETI: An acronym for Communication with Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence.

Blackbody radiation:
Hypothetically radiation which is perfect; that is, all incident radiation is absorbed and re-emitted.

An acronym for Communication with Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence.

Doppler Shift:
The resulting frequency change caused by the relative motion along a line of sight between two observers.

Dyson Sphere:
Shells built around stars by advanced civilizations. These objects are hypothesized by Princeton astronomer Freeman Dyson. These spheres might be detected by our astronomies as infrared sources.

The study of extraterrestrial life forms.

A large system of stars. Our galaxy, the Milky Way, is a spiral galaxy containing some 100,000 million stars, 100,000 light years in diameter and 10,000 light years thick.

A unit of frequency equal to 1,000 million hertz.

A unit of frequency equal to one cycle per second.

The most abundant element in the universe. It radiates naturally at a wavelength of 21 centimeters.

Infrared radiation:
Radiation whose emitted wavelengths are longer (redder) than those seen by the human eye, but shorter than radio wavelengths.

Kelvin degrees:
Absolute temperature measured in the celsius scale. Ten degrees kelvin equals ten degrees celsius above absolute zero.

Lagrangian points:
Five points (designated Ll, L2, L3, L4, and L5) in the plane of orbit of two mutually orbiting bodies where a third body, of relatively small mass, can remain in equilibrium with respect to the other two bodies.

Light Year:
The distance traveled by light in one year, about 10 trillion kilometers.

Light (speed of):
In empty space: 300,000 kilometers per second.

A sensitive amplifying device employing energy jumps of atomic particles.

A unit of frequency equal to one million hertz.

Microwave radiation:
Radiation in the short-wave radio spectrum having a wavelength range between 1 and 30 centimeters.

One billionth of a second.

Radio Astronomy:
The science of making astronomical observations using instruments sensitive to radio wavelengths.

A shift toward the longer wavelengths of the optical spectrum due to recessional velocity (the Doppler effect).

An acronym for Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence.

Ultra-violet radiation:
Radiation whose emitted wavelengths are shorter (more violet) than those to which the eye is sensitive, but longer than x-rays.


For best papers on SETI

    Category 1. Undergraduate students
    Category 2. Graduate students
    Category 3. Anyone else under 30 years of age
Papers may be on any aspect of the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI). Papers must be double-spaced typewritten with one inch margins on 8 1/2 by 11 inch bond paper and less than 2000 words in length. Any illustrations must be clearly executed.

Authors of best papers will be given a SEARCH AWARD of $100 and the paper will be published in COSMIC SEARCH. Authors should include their full address and telephone number. Authors should enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope if they wish to have their manuscripts returned. Manuscripts accepted and published are copyrighted and become the property of COSMIC SEARCH magazine.

Manuscripts may be submitted at any time. Their review is a continuous, on-going process. Each article received is reviewed by a special committee and if judged worthy, either in its original form or after revisions, will be given a SEARCH AWARD. The opinion of the committee is final.

A contestant may submit and have under review only one manuscript at a time and be eligible for only one SEARCH AWARD in one category. However, it is possible for one person to achieve SEARCH AWARDS sequentially in each of the three categories.

Address SEARCH AWARD Committee, Radio Observatory, P.O. Box 293, Delaware, Ohio 43015.


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Solution to Jan. 1979 Puzzle

Miscellaneous Quotes

The following quotes are not directly associated with any article. They are listed here in the order in which they appear in the magazine; page numbers are given. Uncredited quotes should be credited to the Editors of COSMIC SEARCH magazine.

Quote on page 9

Overheard one night at a California airport:
"Say, Mac, could you tell me if that's Cygnus or Orion up there?"
"Sorry, pal, I wouldn't know. I'm not from this part of the country."

Quotes on page 34

Metric Fun

The new metric system of System International (SI for short) is beautiful in its simplicity, conciseness and ease of use.
Not only that, it can be fun. For example, we have
10-18 boys=1 attoboy
109 los=1 gigalo
10-12 boos=1 picoboo
10-15 bismols=1 femtobismol
101 cards=1 decacards
1012 bulls=1 terabull
10-1 arnez=1 deciarnez
10-18 misers=1 attomiser
10-9 goats=1 nanogoat
10-6 phones=1 microphone
Now you try your hand at topping these.

Advice for UFO observers: "It's not an alien spaceship unless you can read the extraterrestrial license plate."
Paraphrased from a statement by Arthur C. Clarke in "Things in the Sky".

Quote on page 51

"The greatest discoveries are yet to come."
John Archibald Wheeler in the American Scientist.

Miscellaneous Photos

The following photo is not directly associated with any article. It is shown on this webpage at a relatively small size; click on it to obtain a larger size version.

Photo on Outside Back Cover
Outside Back Cover Photo

Miscellaneous Graphics

The following graphics are not directly associated with any article. They are listed here in the order in which they appear in the magazine.

Graphic1 on page 24 Graphic2 on page 24


Copyright © 1979-2006 Big Ear Radio Observatory, North American AstroPhysical Observatory (NAAPO), and Cosmic Quest, Inc.
Designed by Jerry Ehman.
Last modified: September 7, 2006.