CALIFORNIA, United States, Friday September 2, 2016 – While extra-terrestrial buffs hope unexplained radio waves from outer space are messages from another civilization, astronomers are yet to reach a consensus about a mysterious radio signal that has been picked up from the direction of a star 95 light-years away from earth.
The spike of activity appears to have come from the vicinity of a star in the constellation of Hercules. Known only as HD164595, the star is known to have at least one planet in orbit around it.
The discovery raises some possibility that the signal, detected by a powerful radio telescope in Russia, could be a message deliberately broadcast by extra-terrestrials, in much the same way that astronomers on Earth beam signals into the heavens in the hope of eliciting a response.
The Sun reports that the signal was recorded using the RATAN-600 radio dish at Zelenchukskaya, near the border with Georgia, and was described as “a strong signal in the direction of HD164595” by the observatory.
The astronomers have kept news of the discovery under wraps since it was made on May 15 last year. But teams involved in the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) began attempting to listen for more signals over the weekend using the Allen Telescope Array in Northern California, and the Boquete Optical SETI Observatory in Panama.
The discovery is also slated to be discussed during the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Guadalajara, Mexico, in September.
Scientists stress that there is insufficient evidence to claim that the signal is an alien communication, and say that it is likely to have been produced by electrical interference or a natural event on a more remote object in the Universe.
The researchers are nevertheless calling for the permanent monitoring of star HD164595.
It is the same size and type of star as our sun, but a couple of billion years older, at an age of about 6.3 billion years.
It has been suggested that its greater age means that any life that may exist there would have had longer to develop and become more advanced than life on Earth.
One way or another, as the X-Files’ Fox Mulder would say: “The truth is out there.”