Two astrophysicists from Laval University in Quebec have confirmed in a recent study that alien signals are coming through as pulsing stars, further backing information stated in a previous study in 2012, Space reports.
Astrophysicists Ermanno Borra and Eric Trottier published a study in mid-October in the journal Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. They claim to have seen pulsing lights coming through more than 200 stars in the Milky Way galaxy. According to a study conducted by Borra in 2012, these pulsing lights could potentially be a signal used by intelligent life to capture our attention.
“We find that the detected signals have exactly the shape of an ETI [extraterrestrial intelligence] signal predicted in the previous publication and are therefore in agreement with this hypothesis.”
Borra and Trottier looked at millions of stars through a telescope from New Mexico while testing the theory.
“The fact that they are only found in a very small fraction of stars within a narrow spectral range centered near the spectral type of the sun is also in agreement with the ETI hypothesis.”
Although their hypothesis seems likely, they did make it clear that more observation is needed to confirm the hypothesis.
Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute, is still skeptical.
“It would be like expecting us to send the same signals as the Abyssinian’s — it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. If I were a betting guy, I’d bet this is an artifact of the way they processed their data.”
Further, Shostak stated that he doubts there are 234 separate alien societies simultaneously sending out similar signals. However, Shostak did insist that Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific is a legitimate and reputable journal.
Stephen Hawking and the other astronomers behind Breakthrough Listen, a research program searching for SETI signals, are also skeptical about the hypothesis.
“The international SETI community has established a 0-to-10 scale for quantifying detection’s of phenomena that may indicate the existence of advanced life beyond the Earth called the ‘Rio Scale. The BSRC team assesses the Borra-Trottier result to currently be a 0 or 1 (None/Insignificant) on this scale.”
While some are skeptical, they are not necessarily dismissing the claim. Shostak believes the hypothesis is certainly worth a second look. Breakthrough Listen revealed that they plan to use a close to eight-foot telescope at Lick Observatory in California to further investigate their hypothesis.
Shostak revealed that ideas should not be thrown away without further investigation.
“You can’t get too cynical. You don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater.”
What exactly has Breakthrough Listen been up to? According to Space, Breakthrough Listen is conducting a 10-year, $100 million search for intelligent life. They will survey over 1 million stars in the Milky Way galaxy and the 100 galaxies closest to them.
“We believe that life arose spontaneously on Earth, so in an infinite universe, there must be other occurrences of life. Somewhere in the cosmos, perhaps intelligent life might be watching these lights of ours, aware of what they mean. Or do our lights wander a lifeless cosmos, unseen beacons announcing that, here on one rock, the universe discovered its existence? Either way, there is no better question. It’s time to commit to finding the answer, to search for life beyond Earth. The Breakthrough initiatives are making that commitment. We are alive. We are intelligent. We must know.”
Yuri Milner, a trained physicist and Silicon Valley technology investor, has made the investment for this project. Yuri was named after Yuri Gagarin, who was the first person to travel from earth into outer space. Milner’s mother told Yuri as he grew older that she wanted him to be inspired by what Gagarin did, which is why he has committed to this project.
Breakthrough Listen will use two of the largest telescopes in the world to scan the sky. They will search for alien transmissions to find alien intelligence.
“If the Milky Way actually has other intelligent species sending their spacecraft across the galaxy to settle around other stars on other planets, they might communicate using lasers, There could be a galactic Internet not borne by copper wires, not borne by fiber optics, but carried by laser beams crisscrossing the galaxy.”
It is possible that this project will be unsuccessful, but Breakthrough Listen says that this investment is truly worthwhile.
[Featured Image by NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage/AP Images]