Sources have disclosed that Russian astronomers had identified a spike in radio signals, seemingly from the vicinity of a sun-like star referred to as HD 164595. The star is only 94 light years away and is distinguished as having one Neptune-like planet.
The media fast speculated regarding aliens: “Not a Drill: SETI Is Investigating a Possible Alien Signal From Deep Space”.
Researchers, however, are a lot more skeptical. Astronomers detect curious radio signals such as these very often. They usually end up being nothing. At times the signal is just because of natural causes, such as a stellar flare, or a false positive brought on by disturbance here on Earth. For proof of Alien life, researchers would require several detection and far more proof.
An astronomer with Berkeley SETI, Eric Korpela downplayed the media hype over this recent signal in a note.
Since the receivers used were creating broadband measurements, there is actually nothing about this signal, which might differentiate it from a natural radio transient (microlensing of a background source, active galactic nucleus, stellar flare, etc.) There is as well nothing that may differentiate it from a satellite passing through the telescope field of view. In general, it is rather uninteresting from a SETI viewpoint, he wrote.
In a helpful follow-up post, Eric described what kind of signal qualities would persuade astronomers that they are facing possible Alien intelligence.
He added: “we believe a signal when,
-It’s continuous. It shows up at the same spot in the sky in numerous observations.
-It only originates from one spot in the heavens.
-If we reobserve the target, the signal is still present.
Things which contribute to believability
-Its frequency/period/delay doesn’t correspond to recognized interference.
-Its Doppler Drift rate shows that it is precisely frequency stable in the frame of the center of mass of the solar system.
-Its properties (encoding, bandwidth, chirp rate) show intelligent origin.
Unfortunately, the observing approach used by the Russian team doesn’t allow most of these things to be ascertained.
- i) The signal wasn’t continuous.
- ii) The signal was gone when the target was observed again.
Iii) The signal frequency/delay/period can’t be identified.
- iv) The signal Doppler drift rate is unfamiliar.
- v) Most sources of interference, which include satellites, exist in the observing band.
The signal from the direction of HD 164595 was initially discovered by a team in Russia in May 2015 in but, strangely, it was only shared with other scientists this month. Ever since, astronomers have attempted to verify the signal. But up to now, they have not found any follow-up proof, which may show they are onto something.
As an interesting side note, Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer with the SETI Institute as well calculated that if a signal of the strength apparently detected by the Russian team did come from an alien civilization, it will need an incredible amount of energy to produce.
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