Upon discovery and confirmation of signals produced by extraterrestrial intelligence, SETI@home will make an announcement in the form of an IAU (International
Astronomical Union) telegram. This is a standard way of informing the astronomical community
of important discoveries. The telegram contains all of the important information (frequencies,
bandwidth, location in the sky, etc.) that would be necessary for other astronomical groups to
confirm the observation. The person(s) who found the signal with their screen saver would be
named as one of the co-discoverers along with the others on the SETI@home team. At this point
we would still be unsure if the signal was generated by an intelligent civilization or maybe some
new astronomical phenomenon.
All information about the discovery will be made public, probably via the web. No country or
individual would be allowed to jam the frequency the signal is observed on. Since the object will
rise and set as seen from any given location, observations from radio observatories around the
world will be necessary. This will, by necessity, be a multi-national effort. All this information
will be made public.
There is an official protocol for announcing extraterrestrial signals called
Declaration of Principles Concerning Activities Following the Detection of
Because of this protocol, it is important that participants in the SETI@home project do not get
excited when they see signals on their screen and go off on their own making announcements
and calling the press. This could be very damaging to the project. It's important that we keep our
heads cool and our computers hot while they grind away at the data. We can all hope that we
will be the one that helps receive the signal of some extraterrestrial civilization trying to "phone home."