Scientists have finally found an explanation for an interesting signal coming from our nearest neighbor, which was found looking for alien life.
Last year, radio telescopes were getting data from the Proxima Centauri system that could be a sign of alien technology.
Since then, Breakthrough Listen – a major project to search for life elsewhere in the universe – has been analyzing the signal, to find out whether it is indeed coming from another civilization.
They found that the signal actually appears to be an artifact from human technologies, according to two new papers published in the journal nature astronomy.
But Yuri Milner, the Russian billionaire who founded the Breakthrough Listen project, said the research represents a major step forward in the search for alien life – despite the fact that the opposite was found in this case.
“The significance of this result is that the search for civilizations beyond our planet is now a mature, rigorous field of experimental science,” he said.
Astronomers who look for signs of alien civilizations, or technological signatures, must choose from a variety of similar signals coming to us from Earth. Radio telescopes must try all radio signals created by humanity – from our phones, television transmitters, radar systems and more – and filter them out of any potential signals coming from Earth.
The latest papers focus an effort to do so at the CSIRO Parkes Telescope in New South Wales, Australia, one of the pieces of equipment involved in the Breakthrough Listen search. That telescope was used to scan Proxima Centauri, our nearest star after the Sun, which is only 4 light-years away and has at least two planets orbiting it.
To better investigate it, astronomers observed it through a variety of radio frequencies. The research was the equivalent of tuning in to over 800 million radio channels at a time, Breakthrough Listen.
When planets are examined in this detail, a whole host of signals are likely to be picked up. As such, Breakthrough Listen runs any observation through a filter that sorts out signals that are unlikely to come from a transmitter far from Earth: whether the signal changes in frequency over time, and whether they travel in the direction of the target. which can be established by observing whether they turn off when the telescope is moved away.
It filters out most of the signals received by Breakthrough Listening. But even after that, the intriguing signs of last year remained.
What’s more, it had some features that might suggest it was actually coming from an alien civilization. This raised the possibility that the Breakthrough Listen team had actually received a signal coming from aliens.
But further investigation found that the sign isn’t actually alien—but more human altogether. While they weren’t able to figure out what caused the detection, it appears to have been specifically calculated to slip through the filter.
However this gives scientists confidence that they will be able to identify real signals from alien civilizations.
S Pete Worden, executive director of Breakthrough Initiatives, said, “While we were unable to conclude a true technical signature, we are increasingly confident that we have the necessary tools to detect and validate such signatures, if they exist.” Huh.”
They also believe that Proxima Centauri is still an exciting prospect for finding technical signatures.
“In the case of this particular candidate, our analysis shows that it is highly unlikely that it is actually from a transmitter at Proxima Centauri. However, this is undoubtedly one of the most intriguing signals we have observed to date, said Andrew Simian at the University of California, Berkeley, who leads the Breakthrough Listen science team.
two papers – ‘A radio technosignature search toward Proxima Centauri results in a signal of interest’, detailing the discovery of the signalal, and ‘Analysis of Breakthrough Listen Signals of Interest with a Technical Signature Verification Framework’, which explains its analysis – are both published in nature astronomy Today.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /