Radio signals detected from star but scientists play down aliens
WASHINGTON — Astronomers in Puerto Rico have detected what they described as “some very peculiar signals” emitting from a red dwarf star located about 11 light years from Earth.
While observing a group of red dwarf stars using the Arecibo radio telescope on May 12, the researchers at the Arecibo Observatory found that the radio emissions from Ross 128 lasted about 10 minutes, according to a post published on the website of the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo.
Professor Abel Mendez explained in the post that the radio signals are “unique to Ross 128 and observations of other stars immediately before and after did not show anything similar.”
The professor noted that they haven’t found the origin of the mysterious signals. He gave three possible explanations, but then pointed out the problems of the hypotheses.
For example, the signals could be emissions from Ross 128 that are similar to type II solar flares. However, the dispersion of the detected signals suggests a much farther source or a dense electron field, since type II solar flares occur at much lower frequencies.
Alteratively, the signals could be emissions from another object in the field of view of Ross 128, but scientists have never seen satellites emit bursts like that.
As for the presumption that the signals might be related to extraterrestrial life, Mendez played down the possibility, saying “the recurrent aliens hypothesis is at the bottom of many other better explanations”.
Mendez said scientists at the observatory and astronomers from SETI (Search for ExtraTerrestrial Life) would use the Alien Telescope Array and the Green Bank Telescope to observe the star for a second time.
The results of the observations should be posted by the end of the week, he said.
“I have a Pina Colada ready to celebrate if the signals result to be astronomical in nature,” Mendez said.
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