An international team of scientists who are engaged in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence known as SETI are targeting their instruments on a star approximately 95 light years from Earth after a very strong signal was detected by a Russian telescope.
The signal spikes are emitting near the 6.3-billion-year-old star in the constellation Hercules. It was originally detected on May 15, 2015 by the Russian Academy of Science’s RATAN-600 radio telescope in Zelenchukskaya, Russia, but was kept secret from the international community until recently.
SETI is now examining the unusual signal and its star, HD164595, which was described by an Italian astronomer Claudio Maccone as a “strong candidate for SETI” in the hopes of determining its origin.
Maccone also claimed that “permanent monitoring of this target is needed” when he was trying to lure SETI into the case.
The mysterious star is considered to be sun-like in nature with a nearly identical metallic composition to our own star. So far, a single warmer Neptune-like planet has been discovered in its orbit.
Astronomer Douglas Vakoch, the president of METI international, which searches for life beyond Earth as well, said:
“The signal from HD 164595 is intriguing, because it comes from the vicinity of a sun-like star, and if it’s artificial, its strength is great enough that it was clearly made by a civilization with capabilities beyond those of humankind.”
Maccone added to Vakoch’s assessment when he said, “whenever a strong signal is detected, it’s a good possibility for some nearby civilization to be detected.”
However, there are other scientists who say it is highly unlikely to be a message from alien beings.
On the understandable skepticism, Vakoch commented that,
“Without corroboration from an independent observatory, a putative signal from extraterrestrials doesn’t have a lot of credibility.”
Could this signal be from an advanced civilization?
If this signal was beamed out into the galaxy without aim or direction then that would require an enormous amount of power to actually be detected.
But scientists wonder if the signal was beamed specifically at our solar system?
Scientists say that would require less energy and could indicate the presence of a Type I civilization — meaning they could be a highly technological, contemporary society that harnesses the solar energy emitted by its local star, much like our planet does with solar panels but much more complex and advanced.
In short, this civilization’s social structure would be theorized as completely globalized and interconnected.
At present, our own species is somewhere near Type I on the scale, whereby a civilization is able to harness all the energy available to it on its own planet, including solar, wind, earthquakes, and other fuels.
Scientists believe superstructures are probably our best chance of detecting alien life unless they are actively trying to communicate with us.
Alan Boyle, an author known for The Case for Pluto says:
“The signal conceivably fits the profile for an intentional transmission from an extraterrestrial source. In any case, the blip is interesting enough to merit discussion by those who specialize in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.”
So what do you think? Is it possible that we just intercepted alien contact?