Ra­dio sig­nals de­tected from star but sci­en­tists play down aliens

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

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.


A so­cial worker cares for ba­bies at the Jusarang Com­mu­nity Church shel­ter in Seoul, South Korea.

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