I knew going into this assignment that the diagram on the Voyager Golden Record was a pulsar map, showing our “address” relative to the nearest pulsars of our galaxy. I knew that the small etches along each line related to the frequencies at which the pulsars, well, pulsed–but not much else beyond that.
This website was particularly helpful in illuminating how to interpret those lines: How to Read A Pulsar. Even with the high resolution photo, I found some of the lines a bit hard to read, but here I go interpreting the etching of one of the lines below:
The marked purple line etching could be read as
Then, using this nifty binary to decimal calculator I found, I can convert that to decimal:
321746104. As the article suggests, we would then need to multiply this by the amount of time it would take for “the electron of an hydrogen atom to change relative to its proton.” Things I have forgotten from chemistry class! Apparently, this is called the hyperfine transition period of hydrogen, and may be a more universal measurement time across alien species.