Wait And See: No, it’s not ‘ET’ until you prove it

A “candidate” for an alien signal has been detected coming out of Proxima Centauri.  Call me skeptical (gee, on this site?), but this could easily be our own signals bouncing back at us, a new type of pulsar or some other natural phenomenon.  From The Guardian, December 2020:

Scientists looking for aliens investigate radio beam ‘from nearby star’

Astronomers behind the most extensive search yet for alien life are investigating an intriguing radio wave emission that appears to have come from the direction of Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to the sun.

The narrow beam of radio waves was picked up during 30 hours of observations by the Parkes telescope in Australia in April and May last year, the Guardian understands. Analysis of the beam has been under way for some time and scientists have yet to identify a terrestrial culprit such as ground-based equipment or a passing satellite.

It is usual for astronomers on the $100m (£70m) Breakthrough Listen project to spot strange blasts of radio waves with the Parkes telescope or the Green Bank Observatory in West Virginia, but all so far have been attributed to human-made interference or natural sources.

The latest “signal” is likely to have a mundane explanation too, but the direction of the narrow beam, around 980MHz, and an apparent shift in its frequency said to be consistent with the movement of a planet have added to the tantalising nature of the finding. Scientists are now preparing a paper on the beam, named BLC1, for Breakthrough Listen, the project to search for evidence of life in space, the Guardian understands.

The beam that appears to have come from the direction of Proxima Centauri, a red dwarf star 4.2 light years from Earth, has not been spotted since the initial observation, according to an individual in the astronomy community who requested anonymity because the work is ongoing. “It is the first serious candidate since the ‘Wow! signal’,” they said.

From Smithsonian Magazine.

Would I like this to be aliens?  Sure, and at 4.2 light years away, back and forth communication would be possible, if slow.  But I won’t believe it until it’s proven.

The worst part about this, if it’s true?  Windbags like Michio Kaku will seek credit and probably get it instead of the astronomers who did the work.  Known exoplanets went from one in 1983 to four thousand in 2020 because of new technology and techniques to detect them, not wishing they existed.


  1. Bruce says

    At least Trump has proved there are no UFOs. If there were any evidence suggesting aliens, Trump would have tweeted it when he wanted a distraction. So, clearly, no UFO info has ever been available to any President.