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  • On April 29th, 2019, the Parkes Radio Telescope in Australia was trained on our nearest galactic

  • neighbor- Proxima Centauri.

  • A small red dwarf roughly an eighth the size of our own sun, Proxima Centauri nonetheless

  • has been a candidate for Breakthrough Listen- a privately funded multi-million dollar initiative

  • to conclusively discover evidence of alien life by listening in on its transmissions.

  • That's because out of a possible three planets in orbit around our closest galactic neighbor,

  • just four light years away, Proxima Centauri b sits comfortably on the habitable zone of

  • its parent star.

  • And on that fateful day in 2019, scientists may have recorded the first evidence of intelligent

  • extraterrestrial life.

  • Scanning Proxima Centauri for signs of solar flares, the Parkes radio telescope recorded

  • something altogether different.

  • Buried amidst the radio noise being blasted out by the red dwarf was something unique,

  • a single narrowband transmission at a frequency of 982.02 MHz.

  • What's more, the signal repeated a total of five different times.

  • The signal was discovered by researchers working for the Breakthrough Listen initiative, a

  • program aimed at discovering intelligent alien life funded by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner.

  • Breakthrough Listen is SETI on steroids, with a survey that will eventually include over

  • a million stars in our own galaxy, and will even include over 100 galaxies outside of

  • our own.

  • But because aliens might be trying to communicate in ways other than radio, Breakthrough Listen

  • will also use extremely sensitive telescopes to look for laser signals amidst the light

  • put out by millions of stars.

  • Large, powerful lasers could put out concentrated light that a distant civilization would instantly

  • recognize as being artificial, and has thus been proposed as one of several extremely

  • likely ways civilizations may signal each other from across the galactic void.

  • At a total cost of $100,000,000, and after almost four years of operation, Breakthrough

  • Listen finally had compelling evidence of alien life.

  • But this isn't the first time odd radio signals have been detected, so what makes BLC1 so

  • unique, and why is it potentially alien in origin?

  • The first qualifier and what immediately got the attention of researchers is the narrowband

  • nature of the signal.

  • Natural cosmic phenomena almost always produce broadband signals, and as of yet only humans

  • are known to use narrowband radio signals.

  • This has raised the possibility that the signal is in fact, human in origin.

  • After all, the same sensitive telescopes being used to hunt for alien signals from stars

  • thousands of light years away are sensitive enough to be affected by interference from

  • the earth or space directly around it.

  • Sometimes, as in the case of one radio telescope facility, even a faulty microwave can cause

  • false positives in the data.

  • Yet if BLC1 is in fact coming from a man-made source, and at this point the responsible

  • assumption is that it is not alien in origin and just human interference, then it must

  • be coming from a particularly perplexing source that astronomers have yet to pin down.

  • That's because properties of the signal itself are extremely peculiar.

  • For starters, the signal may not even be from Proxima centauri, as the signal originates

  • from a sixteen foot wide circle around proxima centauri in the sky- that's quite a lot of

  • real estate.

  • What is notable though is that when astronomers moved the telescope away from the signal and

  • then back again hours later- a common technique to rule out earth interference- the signal

  • was still present.

  • In fact it would be detectable for thirty minute periods over several days.

  • Keep in mind that astronomers who were operating the telescope at the time did not even know

  • the signal was there- it was only discovered buried in the data a full year later.

  • Had they known it was there, they could have made even better observations which may have

  • helped prove or disprove its alien origin.

  • What's important is that the signal did in fact repeat in the same relatively small patch

  • of sky, and for up to thirty minutes at a time.

  • This means the only realistic explanation for earth-based interference would be a satellite,

  • yet for the signal to continue uninterrupted in such a small area of the sky would require

  • a satellite to be in an extremely high, and very slow moving orbit.

  • Otherwise, a normal satellite would simply move so fast that the signal would leave the

  • telescope's narrow listening cone after only a few minutes.

  • Now this isn't the first time that astronomers have found an exciting signal from space,

  • only to discover later it was coming from an unregistered spy satellite.

  • However, this satellite would have to be in an unrealistic orbit over the earth that would

  • seem to have little to no functionality for its operators.

  • Even more damning is the fact that the signal does not modulate, meaning that there is no

  • information in the signal.

  • It's just a steady, clear tone- something that again, would have no known value to human

  • operators.

  • Even more interesting is that the signal increased in frequency over time as it was observed,

  • in the exact same way that a signal being broadcast from the surface of a planet or

  • moon would do as the body it was stationed on slowly rotated in space.

  • The only way this could be replicated in a man-made source would be if the object creating

  • this transmission slowly increased its frequency for again, an unknown reason.

  • Detractors have pointed to the lack of information in the signal as making it unlikely to be

  • alien in origin, and as we mentioned earlier the signal does in fact not contain any information.

  • It's simply a monotone broadcast that continues without interruption.

  • However, there is one type of artificial radio signal that we humans use that matches the

  • same properties of BLC1 perfectly, and something that aliens would no doubt also be using:

  • radar.

  • Our own radar emissions have washed over several of our nearest galactic neighbors by now,

  • so would it be any surprise if alien radio astronomers inadvertently blasted our own

  • planet with their radar too?

  • What would be perhaps entirely too coincidental however would be two intelligent species with

  • similar level of technology arising right next door to each other, but then again the

  • universe is so vast that probability is almost certainly 100%.

  • Roll the dice enough times and almost anything is possible- including two galactic neighbors

  • blasting each other with their radar.

  • With the answer to the greatest question mankind has ever asked on the line: are we alone?-

  • science must tread very carefully and err on the side of caution.

  • So for now, the reasonable assumption is that BLC1 is simply some unknown form of man-made

  • interference.

  • However, BLC1 is by far the strongest candidate ever discovered for alien life- beating out

  • even the infamous Wow!

  • Signal discovered in 1977.

  • With several more years of listening to go, and a plethora of new radio astronomy equipment

  • being built now, humanity may soon have the answer to the ultimate question.

  • And if we're really lucky, that answer may come from right next door, creating a very

  • real possibility of one day meeting our alien neighbors face-to-face.

  • And hopefully not having them eat our brains.

On April 29th, 2019, the Parkes Radio Telescope in Australia was trained on our nearest galactic

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B2 signal alien proxima centauri radio telescope

Alien Radio Signal From Outer Space Discovered

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/02/09
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