Astronomers looking for signs of alien civilizations have detected an “intriguing signal” from Proxima Centauri, the closest star system to the Sun, The Guardian reports.
The signal is reportedly a narrow beam of 980 MHz radio waves and was detected in April and May 2019 by the Parkes Telescope in Australia. The telescope is part of the $100 million Breakthrough Listen project, which aims to search for radio signals, including those from potentially technological sources outside the solar system. The 980 MHz signal appeared once and was never detected again.
Breakthrough Listen detects unusual radio signals all the time – there are many radio signals between Earth sources, natural radio emission from the Sun, and natural sources outside the solar system. But this signal appears to have come directly from the Proxima Centauri system, which is only 4.2 light-years from Earth. The signal reportedly shifted slightly during the observation, reminiscent of the shift caused by planetary motion. Proxima Centauri has one known rocky world, which is 17% larger than Earth, and one known gas giant.
The source could also be a comet or hydrogen cloud, but scientists cannot rule out an artificial origin of the signal.
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