A very strange signal from deep in space a few weeks back totally baffled scientists, but they think they may have an explanation.
Scientists at the huge 1,000 foot wide Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico found a strange signal on May 12 that baffled them. They described it as “Weird!” and even suggested that aliens could be a possible explanation after spotting it near Ross 128, a red dwarf star situated 11 light years from Earth.
But after further examination, it appears that the answer may be quite different than intelligent life, although admittedly it was never high on their list of plausible explanations. Instead, it now appears that flares and emissions from other objects in the field of view are the likely cause of this strange signal.
Follow-up observations by other telescopes including Arecibo seem to confirm this diagnosis, although there are other things that aren’t explained, like strong dispersion-like features in the signals. However, that might have a non alien explanation as well, and in fact multiple reflections are causing the distortions.
“Last week we distributed a press release announcing the Planetary Habitability Laboratory’s new collaboration with other observatories to study the red dwarf stars Barnard’s Star and Ross 128,” the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo said in a statement. “We wanted to observe Barnard’s Star because it is a nearby star that might have planets and is currently being observed by the Red Dots project. We also wanted to observe, again, Ross 128 because in our previous observing campaign performed in May 2017 using the Arecibo Observatory we detected some peculiar signals from this star. Our project using the Arecibo Observatory, the world’s most active and most sensitive single-dish radio telescope, was originally aimed at searching for radio emissions from red dwarf stars intended to understand their stellar activity and any star-planet interactions.”