Science & Tech

Scientists are picking up 'peculiar signals' from a distant star, and aren't ruling out aliens

NASA Goddard/YouTube

Astronomers say they have detected "strange signals" from a red dwarf star Ross 128, located around 11 light years away.

The signals were picked up on the Arecibo Observatory, a huge radio telescope near Puerto Rico.

In a blog post Abel Méndez, director of the Planetary Habitability Laboratory at the University of Puerto Rico, wrote:

We realized that there were some very peculiar signals in the ten-minute dynamic spectrum that we obtained from Ross 128.

The signals consisted of broadband quasi-periodic non-polarized pulses with very strong dispersion-like features.

We believe that the signals are not local radio frequency interferences since they are unique to Ross 128 and observations of other stars immediately before and after did not show anything similar.

Scientists think the explanation for the signals could be numerous:

  • Emissions like a Type II solar flare.
  • Emissions from another object in the field of view of the star.
  • Interference from a high-orbit satellite.

Méndez wrote:

Each of the possible explanations has their own problems.

For example, Type II solar flares occur at much lower frequencies and the dispersion suggests a much farther source or a dense electron field (e.g. the stellar atmosphere?). Also, there are not many nearby objects in the field of view of Ross 128 and we have never seen satellites emit bursts like that, which were common in our other star observations.

In case you are wondering, the recurrent aliens hypothesis is at the bottom of many other better explanations

The star was observed for 10 minutes, during which time the signal was picked up and observed to be "almost periodic".

Ross 128 is about 2,800 times dimmer than the sun and is not yet known to have any orbiting planets.

For more information on solar eruptions, see the below video:

HT IFLScience

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