Extraterrestrial life? Mysterious radio signal intrigues astronomers
Manifestation appears to have come from the direction of red dwarf Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Solar System
Astronomers from the Breakthrough Listen Project, an initiative to find alien life using radio telescopes, are investigating a mysterious radio signal that appears to have come from the direction of the red dwarf Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Solar System, located 4.2 years away. Earth light.
To date, two exoplanets have been discovered that orbit within Proxima Centauri’s so-called “habitable zone”, where water could flow on the planet’s surface: a Jupiter-like gas giant and a rocky world called Proxima b.
According to the British newspaper The Guardian, the signal was detected by the Parkes radio telescope in Australia in April and May of this year, and, unlike previous radio bursts, was not attributed to any human source based on Earth or close to the planet.
There is likely a natural explanation for what happened. Despite this, researchers say this is one of the most exciting radio signals since the “Wow!” signal captured during a search for extraterrestrial intelligence by Ohio Radio Observatory, known as the Big Ear, in 1977.
As Proxima Centauri is a red dwarf, the habitable zone is very close to the star, which means that Proxima b is likely tidally locked and exposed to intense radiation, making it unlikely that any civilization has been able to form, at least on Earth. surface.
The most likely hypothesis is that there is a third planet within the system. According to the team, the radio signal was detected in the 980 MHz range, and changes in frequency detected by the Parkes telescope are consistent with the movement of a planet.
“We’ve been looking for alien life for a long time and the idea that it could be on our doorstep, in the next star system, is piling improbabilities upon improbabilities,” astrobiologist Lewis Datnell of the University of Westminister in London told The Guardian. UK.
Datnell further said that if there is intelligent life as close as Proxima Centauri, then the galaxy is likely to be teeming with life. “The chances of the only two civilizations in the entire galaxy being neighbors, among 400 billion stars, totally exceeds the limits of rationality.”