Weird Signal Coming From Nearby Star is Probably Not Aliens

The Allen Telescope Array that collects data for SETI Seth Shostak / SETI Institute

A strange signal was detected from a nearby star, Proxima Centauri. Nicknamed the “Wow! 2020 Signal”, it was discovered as part of the Breakthrough Listen project, which deals with the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI).

In one rather strange case, news of the discovery appears to have been passed on to the British newspaper The Guardian by one of the scientists involved before the results were officially published. This is not usually how science works because the data in papers is not yet visible to others.

Even so, the detected signal is still interesting – although experts are skeptical that it is direct evidence of intelligent living. The SETI Institute, one of the largest organizations involved in SETI, warned in a blog post: “It could only be us who are being misled by our own technology.”

As reported by the Guardian, the signal was collected between April and May over a period of 30 hours of observation with the Parkes Telescope in Australia. The radio wave emission was 980 MHz and seemed to shift in frequency along with the movement of one of the planets in the system.

However, experts have raised questions about the likelihood that the signal will be sent by aliens. “The idea of ​​a technologically advanced civilization living around our closest stellar neighbor is quite extraordinary. However, we currently have more questions than answers, ”said Franck Marchis, Senior Astronomer at SETI Institute and Chief Scientific Officer at Unistellar, in a statement emailed to Digital Trends. “How come the signal was only recognized once every 30 hours in April and May? Why haven’t observers alerted the scientific community to confirm the signal after it was discovered? “

Marchis pointed out how unlikely an intelligent civilization would emerge this close to us: “Of the 300 million exoplanets that could be habitable in our galaxy 200,000 light years across, it would be quite a coincidence that two civilizations (ours and those on Proxima b or c) are using the same technology at the same time. “

“Although I love the idea, it seems highly unlikely,” he concluded. “I suppose we will quickly find a more down-to-earth explanation for the origin of this signal.”

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