Do we know about the radio signal from Proxima Centauri


The artist's concept of Proxima Centauri B and its host star.

The artist’s concept of Proxima Centauri B and its host star.
The image: ESO / M. Kornmesser

Researchers at the Breakthrough Lisson Project have detected a close signal originating from the proxima centauri, the closest star to the Sun. The signal is designated as a possible alien transmission, but like a lot of examples in the past, this latest detection is probably another dead end.

Scientists at the $ 100 million breakthrough Listen Project funded by Israeli-Russian billionaire Yuri Milner are currently working on a research paper describing the sign, but news Last week, work to trace The Guardian was leaked. Details about the strange sign are now emerging, with the cat comfortably out of the bag, but supporting data is unavailable.

Here we know.

The narrow radio signal, found at 982.001 MHz, was picked up by a 210-foot radio telescope at the Parkes Observatory in Australia as a Scientific American. Reports. The emission originated from Proxima Centauri, a red light dwarf located 4.2 light years away. The system hosts two known exoplanets, one of which, Proxima Centauri B, resides inside the habitable zone. The interesting thing is that the frequency of the signal ever decreased. This can be a Doppler shift due to the speed of the source, such as a circled exoplanet.

The Breakthrough Listen team led by Andrew Siemian from the University of California at Berkeley was not looking for aliens at the time. Rather, they were looking for signs of flare coming from the red dwarf, as these eruptions may affect the ability to live in the proxima centauri system. This data was collected in April and May 2019, but the signal was not seen until recently. Shane Smith, an undergraduate at Hillside College in Michigan and an apprentice with Berkeley’s SETI Project, found the clue while regularly reviewing 30 hours of data according to Scientum (imagine if it’s an alien – Smith immediately became the most famous intern in history Go).

Parks Observatory in Australia.

Parks Observatory in Australia.
The image: Daniel John Reardon

Emissions appear to be a one-off event, appearing only once in the dataset. With no clear source for the signal, the team named it the BLC-1, meaning Breakthrough Listen Candidate 1. This is the first official candidate for the 10-year project, Signal, which was launched in 2015. Astrophysicist Sophia Sheikh of Penn State University will be. The lead author of the upcoming paper, which is expected in early 2021, as SciAm reports.

There exists a very slim chance that the signal was produced by a supernatural intelligence, whether it was an accidental radio leak or a targeted transmission designed to attract our attention (ie, a possible) technosignature). Indeed, breakthrough listener researchers themselves did not expect BLC-1 to be completely alien. Pete Worden, executive director of Breakthrough Initiatives, told SciAm, “It’s like 99.9%” not Alien.

Importantly, terrestrial interference, such as A. microwave oven Or some other distraction, has not yet been ruled out as a potential source of radio emissions. BLC-1 brings 1977 Wow! The signal to the mind, which similarly failed to replicate, making it difficult for scientists to study (recent research suggests it came from a Hydrogen cloud Due to comets).

The BLC-1 that came from the LLC is unlikely due to several reasons.

At first, BLC-1 appears to be a non-signaling signal. It is a boring, irreverent tone. If the aliens were trying to contact us, they would surely make the message more interesting, such as broadcasting a sequence of attention-grabbing prime numbers, as shown in Carl Sagan’s picture Contact. The uncomplicated nature of the signal also makes it a poor candidate for accidental radio leakage.

In addition, the space is completely filled with natural radio signals. A natural source for BLC-1 is not immediately clear, but scientists must rule over things like our Sun, Jupiter, neutron stars and pulsars, supernova remnants, radio galaxies, etc.

Terrestrial sources will also be ruled out, as well as orbiting satellites, Seth Shostak, senior scientist at the SETI Institute, recently explained Post:

In fact, it may be just a telemetry signal from a orbiting satellite. The orbital speed of these satellites causes their transmissions to rise and fall, after all. And while you may think that the probability of accidentally tuning into a satellite is not great, you should think again. There are over 2,700 working satellites on our planet, providing weather information, imagery for Google Earth, GPS signals for navigation and high-resolution photos for the military, just to name a few. This flood of hardware information a few hundred miles above our heads is clearly critical to a high-tech lifestyle, but it jams a lot of the radio spectrum. SETI scientists are trying to find a needle in a pile of pins.

It is also important to state that the Proxima Centauri system is a very poor candidate for supernatural life, given that the star is a red dwarf. As The research Shows, red dwarfs are often subject to more powerful solar flair, making life difficult for them to emerge and develop. The exoplanet proxima centauri B is so close to its host star that it takes just 11 days to complete a single orbit.

And then there it is completely impossible. Proxima Centauri — the stars closest to our solar system — hosts an intelligent civilization so grossly inappropriate that I lack proper adjectives to tell me how incredible it is. If our nearest neighbor is inhabited by aliens, and at the exact same time we are around, it means that the rest of the galaxy must play with life. We cannot accept this conclusion, however, given the Great Silence and Fermi paradox. In fact, if life is omnipresent in both time and space, we should still see the signs of aliens (more on this topic here, here, here, And here).

This is not to say that Breakthrough Listen is wrong considering the aliens as a possible source of Team BLC-1. They are perfectly correct to do so, as no deliberation yet exists to explain the strange emission. Going forward, radio astronomers must train their telescopes on Proxima Centauri in hopes of a repeat, while other scientists investigate possible sources of the strange signal. We just have to be patient and not jump to conclusions, as is our tendency.

Correction: a previous version of this article gave the wrong year for Wow! Hint.

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