Last week, Chinese state media reported sensational news. From the publication, which was later deleted, it became known that the Sky Eye telescope, as part of the SETI search for extraterrestrial civilizations, detected suspicious artificial signals emanating from a distant star system.
Using a giant spherical telescope with a five-hundred-meter aperture Sky Eye in southwest China, a team of scientists documented narrow-band signals. One of the Sky Eye employees commented to Chinese media that the signal “probably could have been alien.” This phrase instantly became public. But not all project participants agreed with such a frankly hasty conclusion.
Radio frequency interference
“All the signals we have detected so far have been radio frequency interference. They do not come from aliens, but are terrestrial noise,” Dan Vertimer, a SETI researcher at the University of California at Berkeley, explained to Futurism.
Radio frequency interference (RFI) is a big problem when studying very weak signals from space.
“When you are faced with listening to very weak signals from a hypothetical distant civilization, you are overwhelmed by the huge radio pollution of the Earth. The source of interference is all the benefits of modern civilization: mobile phones, television, radio, satellite communications — all this worsens the screening of noise from space messages,” says Vertimer.
Are we not alone in the Universe?
The question remains: Why did some researchers hurry up and consider this discovery a possible sign of extraterrestrial life?
“One of the features of the SETI program is that we look at billions of different signals every second, and then find the most suitable ones. This can be compared to flipping a coin a billion times and accidentally getting 20 eagles in a row. Of course, this can cause some excitement,” explains Vertimer.
Despite the rather sobering conclusion, the astronomer still hopes that we are not alone in space. According to the scientist, it would be strange if we were the only living beings in the Universe. There are a trillion planets in the Galaxy, including Earth-like ones with liquid water and possibly a habitable atmosphere. Given that there are billions of galaxies in the Universe, the chances of finding an alien civilization are quite high. However, we will have to wait for the message for at least the next 400 thousand years.
Recall that earlier the alien signal Wow! could have come from a sun-like star.
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