Astronomy Pic of the Day for June 11 – A Message From Earth

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

A Message From Earth 

 Image Credit: Frank Drake (UCSC) et al.,

Arecibo  Observatory (CornellNAIC

Explanation: What are these Earthlings trying to tell us?  The above message was broadcast from  Earth towards the  globular star cluster  M13 in 1974.   During the dedication of the  Arecibo Observatory – still  the largest single radio telescope in the world – a string of 1’s and 0’s  representing the above diagram was sent.    This attempt at extraterrestrial communication was mostly ceremonial –  humanity regularly broadcasts radio and television signals out into space accidentally.   Even were this message received, M13 is so far away we would  have to wait almost 50,000 years to hear an answer.    The above  message gives a few simple facts about humanity and its  knowledge:  from left to right are numbers from one to ten, atoms including  hydrogen and  carbon,  some interesting molecules,  DNA, a human with description, basics of our  Solar System, and  basics of the sending telescope.   Several  searches  for extraterrestrial intelligence are currently underway, including  one where you can use your own home computer.