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SETI Has Observed a 'Strong' Signal That May Originate From a Sun-like Star (arstechnica.com) 282

An anonymous reader writes: The RATAN-600 radio telescope in Zelenchukskaya, Russia has detected a strong signal around 11 GHz (which is very unlikely to be naturally-caused) coming from HD164595, a star nearly identical in mass to the Sun and located about 95 light years from Earth. The system is known to have at least one planet. If the signal were isotropic, it would seem to indicate a Kardashev Type II civilization. While it is too early to draw any conclusions, the discovery will be discussed at an upcoming SETI committee meeting on September 27th. According to Paul Gilster, author of the Centauri Dreams website, "No one is claiming that this is the work of an extraterrestrial civilization, but it is certainly worth further study. Working out the strength of the signal, the researchers say that if it came from an isotropic beacon, it would be of a power possible only for a Kardashev Type II civilization. If it were a narrow beam signal focused on our Solar System, it would be of a power available to a Kardashev Type I civilization. The possibility of noise of one form or another cannot be ruled out, and researchers in Paris led by Jean Schneider are considering the possible microlensing of a background source by HD164595. But the signal is provocative enough that the RATAN-600 researchers are calling for permanent monitoring of this target."
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SETI Has Observed a 'Strong' Signal That May Originate From a Sun-like Star

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @03:01AM (#52794509)

    But it's aliens.

  • 11 GHz (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @03:05AM (#52794515)

    Is used for microwave communication, so it could be that. A bounced signal or something.

    • 95 light years... so if you're suggesting it's a signal we sent, we sent it 190 years ago, were we even aware of microwaves back then?

      Or are you suggesting it's an aliens signal that's bounced, and if so, why are they sending it at such power that we are seeing it?

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Can't tell if joking or serious.

        But I think he's suggesting it's a signal sent extremely recently that happens for whatever reason to be interfering with just that observation. Which has happened before, I believe.

      • by AndroSyn ( 89960 )

        It could have bounced off the moon. Earth Moon Earth Communications [wikipedia.org]

    • Another website suggested 11GHz was also used by the military. Definitely deserves keeping track of- but theres a good chance this is terrestrial in origin and interfering with sensors.

      • Re:11 GHz (Score:5, Informative)

        by budgenator ( 254554 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @12:43PM (#52797093) Journal

        yes that's X-band [wikipedia.org] (7.0 to 11.2 gigahertz (GHz)) used by military, and civilians mostly for Radar, Amateur radio has a frequency band in there (10.000 to 10.500 GHz,) to., The satellite communication band Ku (12–18 GHz) has (the band 11.2–12 GHz the working definitions of Ku band and X band overlap) is in there as well. A lot of weird shit can happen in those frequency bands, and it's not unusual for people to play around there doing things that aren't strictly legal, you'd be surprised the havoc someone can cause with a fluorescent light, some waveguide and an old TV dish.

        When we were doing receiver alignments and got to noise tests, we had to turn off the fluorescent lights because they pumped out a lot of X-band high end noise.

    • Re:11 GHz (Score:4, Funny)

      by prograsm ( 1863096 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @08:33AM (#52795289)
      It's also used for WiFi, so it could be a galactic Access Point. Watch, it's just a misconfigured alien laptop rebroadcasting HPSETUP
    • Is used for microwave communication, so it could be that. A bounced signal or something.

      I'm thinking this is likely to be leakage from some local ransomware server.

    • 300,000,000Ã0.027
      =11,111,111,111.111

      Curious.

    • Is used for microwave communication, so it could be that. A bounced signal or something.

      No possible way this is just "communication" we are overhearing, unless they where pointing directly to us.. However the power level necessary at the source to make this trip with this level of received signal is in the millions of watts, assuming they where TRYING to hit us with the signal. If they where just broadcasting in all directions, the necessary power levels increases into the billions of watts... That's a HUGE device to generate such RF power, not to mention the necessary equipment to create t

  • Or not..? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @03:08AM (#52794521)

    I usually don't post anything here, but...It seems like not all are that impressed.
    https://setiathome.berkeley.edu/forum_thread.php?id=80193#1813506

    • ....It seems like not all are that impressed...

      Imagine the disappointment when they decode the signal, and it turns out to be an extra-terrestrial version of Eastenders or X-factor. So much for superior intelligence.

      • by Winckle ( 870180 )

        ....It seems like not all are that impressed...

        Imagine the disappointment when they decode the signal, and it turns out to be an extra-terrestrial version of Eastenders or X-factor. So much for superior intelligence.

        "He's naht worfit Gorblor!"

      • Worse, according to the article it appears to be a Kardashian type 1 civilization.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @06:06AM (#52794877)

        100 years into the future Earth mathematicians break the code.

        "Drink more Ovaltine."

      • by invid ( 163714 )
        How big of a dish do I need to watch alien television, and will I need a subscription?
    • by Salgak1 ( 20136 )

      A few scientist friends were discussing it last evening. LOTS of holes here: single source/single instance of signal, star has been observed previously and no signals, right in the middle of a commercial band. . . would be nice, but this is highly likely to be a random event, not signs of extraterrestrial intelligent life. ..

  • by Crashmarik ( 635988 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @03:12AM (#52794525)

    and they are going to keep not claiming very loudly and repeatedly.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by mentil ( 1748130 )

      I'm not saying it's aliens... but it's aliens.

    • and they are going to keep not claiming very loudly and repeatedly.

      Maybe loud enough, so that another civilization may hear them

    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

      That's because despite all the repeated and very loud claiming, there are still going to be retards assuming it's aliens.

  • by s1d3track3D ( 1504503 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @03:19AM (#52794531)
    Please no, we can't take a Kardashian civilization!
  • by Donwulff ( 27374 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @03:28AM (#52794559)

    Except possibly in the widest sense of "SETI has observed someone else observing"... A Russian radio-telescope site claims it has observed the alleged signal well over a year ago - which should give you an idea how important this observation is. The headline, copied straight from ARS Technica though, isn't just ordinarily imprecise, but anyone who's on social media is already aware of the original observation, and is now eagerly waiting for independent confirmation. Without that, it can be anything from an attempt grabbing funding to a Russian radio-frequency jammer test. Because of that, an idependent SETI observation would be very significant. Unfortunately, it's likely a rare event since they've not managed to spot it again in over a year.

  • by Ecuador ( 740021 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @05:07AM (#52794763) Homepage

    This has been played out in the media in a way that a "high" Kardashev (no relation to the Kardashians I believe) is exciting, in that it points to a very advanced civilization. In reality it is the opposite, a signal requiring a civilization to have fully harnessed a star means that it is less likely to be an actual ET signal.

    • This has been played out in the media in a way that a "high" Kardashev (no relation to the Kardashians I believe) is exciting, in that it points to a very advanced civilization. In reality it is the opposite, a signal requiring a civilization to have fully harnessed a star means that it is less likely to be an actual ET signal.

      That's if the signal were sent isotropically (all directions simultaneously). If the signal were targeted at our planet, it only requires the advancement scale we're at. And assuming they're better than we are at detecting planets on distant stars, they could be sweeping through the neighborhood, targeting interesting solar systems. In fact, it's difficult to imagine that a civilization that advanced would waste their energy sending radio signals out into the void rather than targeting their efforts.

      Full d

  • It's not aliens (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @05:09AM (#52794769)

    Aliens that are advanced enough to signal us with that kind of power aren't going to find us advanced enough to be worth talking to if they can even understand our primitive methods of communication at all. If there's anything we have that they want, they'll just come take it, much like we don't ask permission before clearcutting forests inhabited by animals. Even if they just want to study us, our scientists don't send a beacon to an ant colony before they come and fill the ant colony with molten aluminum to take a casting -- so there's no reason to think that advanced aliens would do so either, they'll just come and do their studies and if they happen to kill humanity with their research techniques, that's just a necessary part of research, no big loss.

    • Kinda like how anthropologists from highly esteemed universities won't think it worth talking to people who live in hunter-gatherer societies.

      • by Theovon ( 109752 )

        We may be more advanced technologically than hunter-gatherers. But we’re the same species, so we have evolutionary common ground and we’re more or less in the same range and style of intelligence. An alien civilization would have nothing in common with us at all. If they came to visit us, there’s no reason why they should necessarily even perceive us as having intelligence.

    • What makes you think that, if they can signal us, they can visit us?

    • Re:It's not aliens (Score:5, Interesting)

      by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @08:04AM (#52795181) Homepage Journal

      Aliens that are advanced enough to signal us with that kind of power aren't going to find us advanced enough to be worth talking to if they can even understand our primitive methods of communication at all.

      Sometimes we make noises that will attract animals so that we can study them.

      • Sometimes we make noises that will attract animals so that we can study them.

        On occasion, but the vast majority of time that we make noises to attract animals is so we can shoot them.

        • On occasion, but the vast majority of time that we make noises to attract animals is so we can shoot them.

          Is that actually true? I don't think that it is. I think mostly when we want to attract things for the purpose of killing them, we use smell or a visible lure.

          • by Doke ( 23992 )

            Duck calls are very popular. They even inspired a TV show. https://www.amazon.com/Duck-Commander-Camo-Max-Call/dp/B001BA527O

            • Duck calls are very popular. They even inspired a TV show.

              And yet they pale in popularity compared to mouse traps.

    • by invid ( 163714 )
      It is in their best interest to study us in detail. A space-faring civilization will, for purposes of survival, need to know the distribution and rate of development of other technological civilizations in order to get an idea of what their potential competition will be like. Raw data about the development of technological space faring species is the most valuable commodity in the universe.
    • by sshir ( 623215 )
      They're not contacting us. The signal was sent to their colonization fleet on route to earth.
    • You shouldn't forget about the Prime Directive. We'll be fine.
      • by AJWM ( 19027 )

        Which Prime Directive are you referring to? Was that the Federation Prime Directive, the Klingon Prime Directive, or the Borg Prime Directive?

        We'll be fine. Assimilated, but fine.

    • , they'll just come and do their studies and if they happen to kill humanity with their research techniques, that's just a necessary part of research, no big loss.

      So...an advanced ET research team wouldn't know that negligently wiping out the dominant life form on the planet they want to study might alter their results?

      • , they'll just come and do their studies and if they happen to kill humanity with their research techniques, that's just a necessary part of research, no big loss.

        So...an advanced ET research team wouldn't know that negligently wiping out the dominant life form on the planet they want to study might alter their results?

        what makes you think they'll recognize us as dominant? we're clearly some sort of parasite which is infesting the dominant life form, which is internal combustion vehicles.

    • by wwalker ( 159341 )

      > Aliens that are advanced enough to signal us with that kind of power aren't going to find us advanced enough to be worth talking to

        A highly developed civilization does not always imply rationality, as most of us understand it. Case in point: a real non-zero possibility that Trump can be the next president.

      • by hawguy ( 1600213 )

        > Aliens that are advanced enough to signal us with that kind of power aren't going to find us advanced enough to be worth talking to

          A highly developed civilization does not always imply rationality, as most of us understand it. Case in point: a real non-zero possibility that Trump can be the next president.

        Perhaps if Trump were to be elected by a highly developed civilization I could see your point. I think the Brexit vote is a better example.

  • by GbrDead ( 702506 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @06:32AM (#52794927)

    Just for your amusement, non-Slavic speakers:
    Zelenchukskaya means "of vegetables".

  • What I was thinking, in the off chance that this is an advanced alien civ, like 10000 years more advanced than us or more, then that indirectly would confirm that despite our SF stories, faster than light travel may indeed be impossible if such an advanced civ wasn't able to crack it - otherwise they would have simply visited.
    • Why would they know we're here? If they did know we're here, what would motivate them to visit?
  • Getting past all the jokes, and all of the "it's a year-old signal" and all that. Let's assume that it is advanced life - at least as advanced as today's slashdot crowd. What now? Do we start sending signals to it and waiting 190 years to see if something comes back? Does this prove that maybe the best approach to finding advanced life out there, is to simply assume that it's there, praise the universe for it, and carry on with improving life here? Because if that signal is some advanced civilization, i
    • I believe we started sending signals at or near 11GHz in about 1940, so the wait may be less than you think, although I wont be around personally to hear the reply, some of you may be.

      My bet is its the collective leakage from all their microwave ovens when they all warmed their dinners in the break in the superbowl.

    • Getting past all the jokes

      It's probably just an alien Weiner broadcast.

      (Sorry, there's no getting past the jokes on Slashdot.)

  • An advanced civilization capable of sending such a beacon would have the ability to modulate the signal..That leaves a couple of possibilities, Natural phenomenon, or remnants of a dead civilization triggering some signal.

    • or remnants of a dead civilization triggering some signal.

      Proving that would be the second most exciting development in human history...right after finding a living alien civilization!

  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2016 @11:23AM (#52796331) Journal

    TFA: but I would also not hype the fact that it may be a SETI signal given the significant chance it could be something military."

    "It's not intelligent life, just the military."

  • If Earth launched a satellite precisely enough at the direction of the HD164595, and sufficient time elapsed for the distance to make earth's solar orbit fall in the range of the satellite's broadcast, and the satellite was sending communications back towards earth in its trail, could we not prank some future generation by not recording the launch? And how exactly do we know that wasn't done to us? Soviet Russia would have valued being the only ones to know that a signal wasn't coming from aliens, for example. Or some USA billionaire could have planned it, or rogue NASA could have calculated its eventual transmission would increase NASA funding...

    If we translate the signal and it says that a Kardasian Prince needs us to transfer money in order to release millions of dollars from his account, it's a bad sign.

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