Researchers are investigating new radio signal, but it is probably not foreigners

Researchers with the alien-seeking Breakthrough Listen project are investigating a signal that may have come from Proxima Centauri, the Sun’s nearest star, according to a report by The Guardian.

Why it matters: If confirmed as a true sign of life, it would be wildly exciting. However, the radio signal – found in 2019 – most likely has a much more worldly origin history.

What happens: According to The Guardian, scientists with breakthroughs took a “narrow beam of radio waves” during observations with the Australian Parkes Telescope in May and April 2019.

  • These narrow rays are of particular interest because they resemble the kind of radio waves that humans send out into the universe, but they also make it harder to analyze whether a signal like this is alien or human.
  • The researchers behind the discovery have not been able to find an obvious explanation for the signal and are now conducting follow-up observations to try to gather it.
  • “The most obvious thing for them to do is go back and use either Parkes or another observatory with similar sensitivity and just look again,” said SETI Institute Seth Shostak, who is not involved in the new research.

What to see: It is still possible that this signal is actually emitted for a human reason that has not yet been found.

  • Or, the signal may even come from another cosmic source with properties not yet fixed.
  • What’s next: These options will require follow-up observations to give researchers a good sense of what actually produced the signal in the first place.

Be smart: The researchers have not yet published their full results and it will still require a lot of analysis and confirmation to know if the signal is really foreign.Go deeper: Alien hunters discover mysterious signal from Proxima Centauri (Scientific American)