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Proxima Centauri's radio signal puzzle solved - space and astronomy

Proxima Centauri’s radio signal puzzle solved – space and astronomy

The mysterious radio signal picked up in 2019 in the direction of Proxima Centauri by the Breakthrough Listen Project was of terrestrial and non-terrestrial origin: two studies published in Nature Astronomy to quell the enthusiasm of those who had already fantasized about an encounter with Et.

The signal was detected on April 29, 2019 by the Parks Radio Telescope in Australia, and has been named Blc1 (Breakthrough Listen Candidate 1) because it has all the characteristics that could be considered the first truly extraterrestrial signal filter captured by the Breakthrough Listen Project, an ambitious program A $100 million funded special to search for signs of technologies developed by alien intelligence.

The Blc1 signal, which lasted for five hours in the observations and is only in the direction of Proxima Centauri, gave good hope, but by comparison with 60 other signals, both local and human, it was understood that we were also in this case, explains Sophia Sheikh, an astronomer at the University of California at Berkeley and co-author of both studies.

The researchers were unable to determine the exact source of the signal, but it is likely due to faulty electronic elements (such as oscillators and circuits commonly used in computers, telephones and radios) located a few hundred kilometers away. from the telescope.

“The significance of this finding is that the search for an extraterrestrial civilization is now a mature and rigorous field of experimental science,” comments Yuri Milner, founder of Breakthrough Initiatives and Breakthrough Listen. Thanks to this experience, the researchers were able to improve their techniques for detecting “false positive” signals and developed a handbook that can be useful in observations of the Parks Telescope and also for other instruments.

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