(ANTIMEDIA) Puerto Rico — “Two weeks after these observations, we realized that there were some very peculiar signals in the 10-minute dynamic spectrum that we obtained from Ross 128.”
Those words were taken from a post written last week by Professor Abel Mendez, director of the Planetary Habitability Laboratory at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. Mendez and his team are studying red dwarfs, the smallest known stars in the universe, and in sorting through recently recorded data, they found something they’ve never seen before.
On May 12, the team had the Arecibo radio telescope pointed at Ross 128, a red dwarf located about 11 light years from Earth in the constellation Virgo. During the ten minutes, the star was recorded, an “almost periodic” radio transmission came from the direction of Ross 128 at a frequency previously undetected in red dwarfs.
In his post, Mendez writes that there are three main explanations for the mysterious signals. They could be emissions from solar flares occurring on Ross 128, they could be coming from objects in the field of view of the star, or they could be bursts from a high orbit satellite.
Each of these explanations has problems, however, as Professor Mendez notes. Solar flares, for instance, occur at much lower frequencies. Additionally, there are very few known celestial bodies in the field of view of Ross 128. As for satellites, Mendez writes that “we have never seen satellites emit bursts like that, which were common in our other star observations.”
All of this leads one to the obvious question: Could it be aliens?
“That’s a remote possibility,” Andrew Siemion, director of the Berkley Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Research Center, told The Atlantic. “But at this point, it is indeed a possibility.”
One senior SETI astronomer, Seth Shostak, told Business Insider the “chances are high” that the signals are merely “terrestrial interference” and that, in the past, “that’s always been the case.”
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