View Full Version : "Hear me now? 'Strong signal' from sun-like star sparks alien speculation"

08-31-2016, 02:38 AM
Hear me now? 'Strong signal' from sun-like star sparks alien speculation (http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/30/health/seti-signal-hd-164595-alien-civilization/index.html)

Astronomers engaged in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) are training their instruments on a star around 94 light years from Earth after a very strong signal was detected by a Russian telescope.

I wonder if the detection was as dramatic as this. :P


08-31-2016, 03:43 AM
I gotta be honest...stories like this make me uncomfortable, as history is full of examples of what happens when advanced civilizations cross paths with lesser develop ones. I don't think it will be a happy ending if an advanced civilization pays us a visit.

08-31-2016, 11:10 AM
just think about that little Voyager satellite we sent out into space back in the 70's...with directions back to Earth, pictures to tell the aliens what are bodies are like and even some of our favorite music
-that is the one I worry about sometime...a bit too much of the 1960's love generation went into that planning I think


08-31-2016, 12:11 PM
If I was a member of an advanced alien civilisation, I would want to stay as far away from us if possible. :)
If we can ever get to another planet we will probably ruin it like we are this one.

08-31-2016, 01:13 PM
Stephen Hawking allegedly said (http://www.space.com/29999-stephen-hawking-intelligent-alien-life-danger.html):
"A civilization reading one of our messages could be billions of years ahead of us. If so, they will be vastly more powerful, and may not see us as any more valuable than we see bacteria."

08-31-2016, 01:54 PM
Not even the Russians, who first detected this signal over a year ago, think this is an alien signal.

Here is what the director of SETI had to say about the signal.

A supposed "signal" coming from a star about 95 light years away from Earth is probably not being generated by space aliens, but that hasn't stopped readers some from getting excited at the possibility.

The signal originates from a star known as HD 164595. The star is located in the Hercules constellation and has at least one known planet that orbits in a 40-day cycle. But Eric Korpela, director of the Berkeley SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Research Center is not impressed with the findings:

I was one of the many people who received the the email with the subject "Candidate SETI SIGNAL DETECTED by Russians from star HD 164595 by virtue of RATAN-600 radio telescope." Since the email did come from known SETI researchers, I looked over the presentation. I was unimpressed. In one out of 39 scans that passed over star showed a signal at about 4.5 times the mean noise power with a profile somewhat like the beam profile. Of course [email protected] has seen millions of potential signals with similar characteristics, but it takes more than that to make a good candidate. Multiple detections are a minimum criterion.

Because the receivers used were making broad band measurements, there's really nothing about this "signal" that would distinguish it from a natural radio transient (stellar flare, active galactic nucleus, microlensing of a background source, etc.) There's also nothing that could distinguish it from a satellite passing through the telescope field of view. All in all, it's relatively uninteresting from a SETI standpoint.

In an e-mail, Korpela told us that "It is possible that this could be a signal from an alien civilization. But it is incredibly unlikely."

According to science journalist Dave Mosher, the signal is indeed so uninteresting that the people who first found it didn't bother to let anyone know right away. The researchers found it using the RATAN-600 radio telescope located in Zelenchukskaya, in southwest Russia, more than a year ago.

Korpela additionally explained to us that:

We tend to categorize signals on several criteria when determining whether a signal is extraterrestrial and indicates non-terrestrial intelligence.

1. Is the signal of a type that would indicate intelligence (narrow band, pulsed, encoded with changes in amplitude, period, or frequency over time) rather than a natural radiation source? There is no way to tell because the signal has no frequency, bandwidth or temporal information, Since there are natural sources with time variable power in this band, the standard assumption is that the source is natural and broad band. At best the parameters of the signal are ill defined.

2. Is the source at persistent location in celestial coordinates? Since the source was only seen once out of 39 observations, there is no way to tell. This is consistent with a natural variable source of radio emission.

3. Is the source not present at other locations in the sky, which would indicate a local or earth orbiting radio source? Again, this is not possible to tell because the signal is not well specified. There are multiple source of potential interference in this band including satellites and ground based radars reflecting off of aircraft or satellites.

4. Is the source frequency significantly far away from known interference frequencies? There is no way to know from the signal properties we know.

We would require a "yes" to all four of those questions before considering a signal to be interesting, then we would observe it again ourselves, and only then would we ask for confirmation from another astronomer. Following confirmation we would proceed with the post detection protocols.

The scientific skepticism hasn't stopped some publications from asking if this was the discovery of contact that would change everything, a la Star Trek. Most likely it is not, at least not this time. But that won't stop researchers from keeping their eyes on the skies in hopes of finding extraterrestrial intelligence.

It stirs the imagination when stories like this emerge, but remember funding increases with PR.

08-31-2016, 04:42 PM
Wow! It would be breathtaking if on this generation we confirm the existence of extraterrestrial life...

SETI team investigates mysterious signal from star 94 light-years away

A powerful signal has been spotted coming from the vicinity of a sunlike star, and now astronomers are trying to figure out what it means.

In May 2015, researchers using a radio telescope in Russia detected a candidate SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) signal that seems to originate from HD 164595, a star system that lies about 94 light-years from Earth, the website Centauri Dreams reported over the weekend.

The astronomers have not yet published a study about the detection; they plan to discuss it next month at the 67th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Guadalajara, Mexico, according to Centauri Dreams’ Paul Gilster, who wrote that one of the team members forwarded him the IAC presentation. [13 Ways to Hunt Intelligent Alien Life]

HD 164595 is known to harbor one planet — a roughly Neptune-mass world that orbits too close to the star to support life as we know it. However, it’s possible that other worlds lurk undiscovered in the system, said astronomer Seth Shostak of the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, who is not part of the detection team.

To be clear: Nobody is claiming that aliens beamed out this signal. But that is one of the possible scenarios at the moment, Shostak told Space.com.

The scientists who made the detection are respected researchers, and the signal is strong enough that it’s probably not just random noise, Shostak said. Furthermore, the signal is consistent with something an alien civilization might send out — and if aliens did indeed do it, they are certainly far more advanced than we are, he added.

Based on the received signal’s characteristics, aliens​ would have to generate about 100 billion billion watts of energy to blast it out in all directions. And they’d still have to produce more than 1 trillion watts if they beamed it only to Earth for some reason, Shostak said.

“The first number is hundreds of times more than all the sunlight falling on Earth,” he said. “That’s a very big energy bill.”

The SETI Institute focused the Allen Telescope Array (ATA), a system of radio dishes in Northern California, at HD 164595 Sunday night (Aug. 28) and plans to do so again tonight (Aug. 29), Shostak said. He certainly hopes the ATA finds something that would suggest ET is behind the signal, but he said he suspects there’s a more prosaic explanation.

For example, it’s possible that interference by an Earth-orbiting satellite​ or something else close to home is responsible, Shostak said. Indeed, he said that such “terrestrial interference” would be his bet, if we ever do learn what caused the signal.

But, sadly, it’s very possible that we’ll never know. The Russia-based team apparently observed the HD 164595 system 39 different times and only detected the signal once, Shostak said. If nobody sees it again, it will probably remain a mystery, much like the famous “Wow!” signal of 1977.

“Without a confirmation of this signal, we can only say that it’s ‘interesting,’” Shostak wrote today in a blog post about the candidate signal detection.

08-31-2016, 05:01 PM
Stephen Hawking allegedly said (http://www.space.com/29999-stephen-hawking-intelligent-alien-life-danger.html):
"A civilization reading one of our messages could be billions of years ahead of us. If so, they will be vastly more powerful, and may not see us as any more valuable than we see bacteria."

Bacteria is right, or some sort of parasite. :)

09-24-2016, 12:47 PM
I gotta be honest...stories like this make me uncomfortable, as history is full of examples of what happens when advanced civilizations cross paths with lesser develop ones. I don't think it will be a happy ending if an advanced civilization pays us a visit.

Just read where Stephen Hawkins wrote something similar

Meeting an advanced civilization could be like Native Americans encountering Columbus. That didn't turn out so well."
Stephen Hawking Warns Of Intelligent Aliens