The study of American scientists deprives earthlings of hope for the existence of alien life in the nearest star system.
The strange radio signal, once thought to be a possible sign of alien intelligence in a nearby star system, is likely due to broken human technology here on Earth, according to new research.
On April 29, 2019, astronomers discovered a signal that was directed towards Earth from the direction of Proxima Centauri. It is the closest star system to our Sun (about 4.2 light years away) with at least one potentially habitable planet. Since the signal was caught in a narrow 982 MHz radio frequency band that rarely emanate from planes or satellites, the researchers interpreted this as a possible sign of alien technology.
However, the signal, which lasted for about five hours, no longer appeared on subsequent scans of Proxima Centauri. According to two new studies published in the journal Nature Astronomy, the reason is that the signal did not come from a star system at all.
“It looks like it’s artificial radio interference from some technology, probably on the surface of the Earth,” Sophia Sheikh, an astronomer at the University of California at Berkeley and co-author of both articles, told Nature.com.
In the first of two new studies, Sheikh and her colleagues detailed a signal dubbed BLC1. Astronomers recorded a five-hour stream of radio waves with the Parkes Murriyang radio telescope in southeastern Australia during a 26-hour survey of Proxima Centauri, and this signal seemed special to them. However, after the signal did not appear again in subsequent observations of the star, the researchers carefully examined the original data. It turned out that their automatic sorting program had previously ignored several signals that were very similar to the BLC1, but emitted at different frequencies.
In the second of two new articles in Nature, the researchers concluded that BLC1 and these “similar” signals were components of the same radio source a few hundred kilometers from the Parkes Murriyang telescope. Scientists believe that the fact that the signal appeared only during the five-hour observation of Proxima Centauri is just a coincidence.
Since it never reappeared, the signal may have come from faulty electronic equipment that was either disabled or being repaired. The frequency range in the signal also “matched the typical clock frequencies used in digital electronics,” the researchers said. They plan to conduct new research to find out which specific source “tricked” astronomers.