Printed: 2019-04-21

Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies





IEET Link: https://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/Dvorsky20160913

Alien Hunters Spot Freaky Radio Signal Coming From Nearby Star

George Dvorsky


Gizmodo


http://gizmodo.com/alien-hunters-spot-freaky-radio-signal-coming-from-near-1785889615

September 13, 2016

Astronomers using the RATAN-600 radio telescope in the Russian Republic of Karachay-Cherkessia have detected an unusual signal emanating from a star located about 94 light-years from Earth. It’s not clear if the signal is being transmitted by aliens, but the researchers say we should keep a close watch on this intriguing new extraterrestrial candidate.

As reported by Paul Gilster at Centauri Dreams, the anomalous signal was detected by an international team of astronomers back on May 15, 2015. The researchers, led by N. N. Brusilov, describe a “strong signal in the direction of HD164595,” a planetary system located in the constellation Hercules. The finding is set to be discussed at a meeting of the IAA SETI Permanent Committee on September 27, 2016.

This strong radio signal was detected in the direction of HD 164595 on May 15, 2015. (Image: Bursov et al.)

It’s still too early to tell if the signal is coming from an extraterrestrial civilization, but the researchers say it’s serious enough that scientists should now permanently monitor this new target. HD164595 is practically the same size and age as our own sun, it shares a similar chemistry, and it’s less than 100 light-years away. What’s more, it hosts at least one known planet, a warm Neptune in a circular orbit. It’s very possible that other planets reside within this system.

Looking at the signal, the researchers say that if it came from a multi-directional, isotropic radio beacon, it would have to be produced by a Kardashev Type II civilization, i.e. an alien civilization that has tapped into nearly 100 percent of its host star’s energy potential. If the signal was targeted directly at our solar system, then it would be of a power available to a Kardashev Type I civilization, i.e. an alien civilization capable of exploiting nearly all of its home planet’s energy potential.

Another possibility, of course, is that the signal is a natural anomaly, such as background noise. French astronomer Jean Schneider is considering the possibility that HD164595 is amplifying a background radio source through a process known as gravitational microlensing.

To move forward, scientists will need to confirm the quality and integrity of this signal and rule out other possibilities. And by focusing their radio dishes onto this planetary system, scientists may detect new signals, and possibly even patterns. Like the intriguing Tabby’s Star, and the rampant speculation that it’s home to an alien megastructure, more data is needed before we jump to conclusions.

[Centauri Dreams]


George P. Dvorsky serves as Chair of the IEET Board of Directors and also heads our Rights of Non-Human Persons program. He is a Canadian futurist, science writer, and bioethicist. He is a contributing editor at io9 — where he writes about science, culture, and futurism — and producer of the Sentient Developments blog and podcast. He served for two terms at Humanity+ (formerly the World Transhumanist Association). George produces Sentient Developments blog and podcast.

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