SETI: Is This The Signal Humanity Has Been Waiting For?

The internet has been buzzing with news that SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, is investigating an anomalous signal from a star system 95 light years away. Could this finally be official evidence of intelligent life elsewhere in the cosmos?

A research team using the RATAN-600 radio telescope in Russia received the signal on May 15th, 2015. It originated from a star system in the Hercules constellation called HD164595. Researchers who discovered the signal circulated an academic paper concerning their findings, which fell into the hands of reporter Paul Gilster of Centauri Dreams.

View of the RATAN-600 radio telescope array. (Credit: александр с кавказа/Wikimedia Commons)
View of the RATAN-600 radio telescope array. (Credit: александр с кавказа/Wikimedia Commons)

The news has been making worldwide headlines because the signal does not fit within recognizable natural phenomenon. According to Alan Boyle, author of “The Case for Pluto” who reports for Geekwire,

“The signal conceivably fits the profile for an intentional transmission from an extraterrestrial source…In any case, the blip is interesting enough to merit discussion by those who specialize in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.”

While many researchers believe that the signal may simply be a novel form of natural cosmic noise, and not a sign of alien intelligence, SETI has taken notice and has committed the use of its Allen Telescope Array in Northern California to the star system in question. In order to maintain scientific rigour, a second telescope must confirm the findings, so SETI has enlisted the help of METI International (Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence) and their Boquete Optical Observatory in Panama.

The signal, much like the famous 1977 Wow! Signal, has taken the world’s collective imagination by storm. Claims of evidence for extraterrestrial intelligence occur almost every day from various corners of the internet, but when SETI takes notice, the suspense of waiting for their ruling on the matter is palpable.

To read the original article on Centauri Dreams, click here.

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