The Galileo project: in search of technological interstellar objects


October 11 • 7:30 p.m.9:30 p.m.


Join the Princeton Association of Amateur Astronomers online Tuesday, October 11 at 7:30 p.m. for a presentation by guest speaker Avi Loeb, professor of science at Harvard University on Project Galileo: In Search of Technological Interstellar Objects.

On October 19, 2017, astronomers using the University of Hawaii’s Pan-STARRS1 telescope discovered a highly unusual object. Its speed and trajectory indicated that it came from outside our solar system. Its elongated shape gave it a larger aspect ratio than any asteroid or comet observed to date. There were a lot of weird things about the object, 1l/2017 U1. He was soon named “Oumuamua”, Hawai’ian for “a messenger from afar arrived first”.

Most astronomers agreed that Oumuamua was a unique and fascinating object. Avi Loeb, a professor at Harvard University, went further. He suggested that ‘Oumuamua could be a technological artifact of an extraterrestrial civilization, cruising through our solar system just as our own Voyager space probes leave it. Professor Loeb gained notoriety and caused great controversy when he argued in his book “Extraterrestrial” that Oumuamua could be a “technosignature” of extraterrestrial life.

Professor Loeb will discuss his views on extraterrestrial life and describe the recently announced “Project Galileo” in search of technological interstellar objects, and present the contents of his books “Extraterrestrial” and “Life in the Cosmos”.

Avi Loeb is Frank B. Baird, Jr. Professor of Science at Harvard University. He is the author of several best-selling books and nearly a thousand scholarly articles. He was a longtime member of the Institute for Advanced Study and served as the longest-serving chairman of Harvard’s astronomy department. He sits on numerous advisory boards and currently leads the Galileo project. In 2012, TIME magazine selected Loeb as one of the 25 most influential people in space, and in 2020 he was selected as one of the 14 most inspiring Israelis of the past decade.


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