(ORDO NEWS) — In mid-June, the news spread around the Internet that the Chinese FAST radio telescope, known as the Sky Eye, had picked up a signal, probably from an alien civilization.
At least that’s what the China ET Civilization Research Group report said, which was then mysteriously deleted. Specialist Dan Wertimer from the SETI program is convinced that this is only interference from terrestrial radio sources.
Back in 2019, the ultra-sensitive Chinese FAST radio telescope recorded a set of signals, including one unusual one. FRB 190520 (signal number in the file cabinet) was repeated regularly.
After parsing and studying, Chinese scientists came to the conclusion that an ancient civilization can serve as a source of a mysterious signal , since it comes from the vicinity of an old dwarf galaxy located at a distance of almost four billion light-years from Earth.
It’s most likely not aliens.
According to Dan Wertimer, a specialist in the SETI program (an international program to search for extraterrestrial civilizations and possible contact with them, which has been working since 1959), the artificial origin of signals does not yet prove that they are extraterrestrial. He is confident that the source of the signals can be located on Earth.
The big problem is that we are looking for extraterrestrial signals, but we find countless earthly signals.
These are very weak signals, but the cryogenic receivers of telescopes are ultra-sensitive and can pick up the signal of a mobile phone, TV, radar or satellite – and there are more and more of them in the sky every day.
If you’re new to this and don’t know all the loopholes that these obstacles can infiltrate and corrupt your data, it’s very easy to get excited prematurely, Vertimer explained.
Such a case has already taken place in history. In 2019, astronomers picked up a signal heading towards Earth from Proxima Centauri, the closest star system with at least one potentially habitable planet. The signal was narrowband, typical for man-made objects.
However, two years later, a study was published in which it was found that, most likely, the signal was caused by equipment failure.
Wertimer also noted the growing number of satellites, a serious problem for astronomical observations.
A hundred years ago, they did not know how to look for extraterrestrial civilizations.
A hundred years from now, I don’t think we’ll be able to do this from Earth.
Perhaps now we have a unique period in history when we can effectively search, while not all possible radio signals are noisy with our own signals, the specialist said.
A few words about FAST
The Chinese radio telescope FAST is very sensitive. Almost any home appliance can make unnecessary obstacles.
For space science, this is a very important point, because it may turn out that for several decades you have been studying “mysterious” signals, the source of which is the microwave in which you heat up sandwiches – this is a very real story.
When designing FAST, this moment was taken into account and the telescope was placed in one of the most remote mountain gorges in China. Within a radius of 10 km from the telescope there is a radio silence mode, the construction of all other objects is prohibited.
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