The signal received is a unique one that currently cannot be produced by any human-made satellites or spacecraft.
There have been many alien hoaxes in the past but this time, it might just be the real deal. A mysterious radio wave emission seems to have been picked up coming from the direction of a neighboring star. So far, there has been evidence pointing to the fact that this could be from an advanced extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI.) Astronomers who have been extensively searching for alien life are still investigating this radio signal and determining that it was actually not, in fact, something that was generated by Earth. The scientists say that our excitement for hoping this is an ET reaching out to us is totally justified.
Alien hunters detect mysterious radio signal from nearby star - It's almost certainly not an extraterrestrial telegram. But waves that seemed to come from the vicinity of Proxima Centauri will help astronomers refine their search techniques. https://t.co/BwwkKKoNqh #SETI pic.twitter.com/lQqwkMNvSi— The SETI Institute (@SETIInstitute) December 19, 2020
“It’s pretty expected that every now and then you’ll see something weird, but this is interesting because it’s something that’s weird that we’re having to think about the next steps,” Sofia Sheikh, a graduate student at Pennsylvania State University and the Breakthrough team member leading the signal analysis told National Geographic. The signal came to us from the direction of Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our Sun, which is 4.2 light-years away. But what is really intriguing is that the signal occupies a very narrow band of the radio spectrum at just 982 megahertz. This is currently not possible by any human-made satellites and spacecraft.
“We don’t know of any natural way to compress electromagnetic energy into a single bin in frequency” Andrew Siemion from the University of California, Berkeley, told Scientific American about this signal. He said that one plausible explanation could be an exotic quirk of plasma physics that we still don't know about. This unknown phenomenon could be an explanation for the narrow band of the radio wave. He added that “for the moment, the only source that we know of is technological.” The signal was discovered by the Breakthrough Listen that is led by Siemion. This was a $100 million project funded by Yuri Milner, a Russian billionaire investor specifically to find alien radio waves.
The guy is Yuri Milner & in 2015 he made the largest private cash injection of $100 mls into alien search – the money has gone to upgrade existing telescopes & help build new ones, like MeerKAT in S Africa, a precursor to SKA. The radio telescope project is Breakthrough Listen 3\ pic.twitter.com/mqDbbfL0EH— Katia Moskvitch, MPhil (@SciTech_Cat) July 3, 2019
It is not unusual, The Guardian reports, for the Breakthrough Listen project to pick up strange radio signals. But so far, all of those signals have been attributed to human-made interference or natural sources. “The chances against this being an artificial signal from Proxima Centauri seem staggering,” Lewis Dartnell, an astrobiologist and professor of science communication at the University of Westminster, said. “We’ve been looking for alien life for so long now and the idea that it could turn out to be on our front doorstep, in the very next star system, is piling improbabilities upon improbabilities." He also went on to state that, "The chances of the only two civilizations in the entire galaxy happening to be neighbors, among 400bn stars, absolutely stretches the bounds of rationality.”
But Sheikh has expressed optimism about the signal being alien in nature. “Our algorithm is very optimistic about what might be alien technology,” Sheikh explained. “But this is super exciting because we’ve never gotten to the stage where the algorithm found something that’s actually interesting.” SETI Institute’s Seth Shostak had a different take about alien life being so close to us as well. If there is a chance that there is intelligent life right next door, he thinks Milky Way as a whole might just be filled to the brim with a ton of advanced civilizations as well. “In this case, there would be more than a half-billion societies out there in our own galaxy—that seems like a lot,” Shostak stated.
Was That ET? A New Radio Signal and the Ongoing Search for Alien Life - Read an interview with Andrew Siemion about potential technosignature #BLC1 in an interview with @UCBerkeley: https://t.co/M7zrbZOuKT pic.twitter.com/IN9HybHLuD— The SETI Institute (@SETIInstitute) February 11, 2021