Astronomers have discovered eight potential radio signals of extraterrestrial civilizations

(ORDO NEWS) — Members of the international project Breakthrough Listen studied the radio waves emanating from 820 star systems closest to us, and found eight candidates for the role of radio signals.

“We have developed a machine learning system that allows us to search for potential signals of highly advanced technological civilizations in radio waves coming from distant star systems.

We were able to immediately identify eight unique extraterrestrial signals that were not observed by astronomers in the past.

None of these signals has yet been detected during repeated observations,” the researchers write.

At the end of July 2015, Russian entrepreneur Yuri Milner and the late British cosmologist Stephen Hawking launched the Breakthrough Listen project as part of the Breakthrough Initiatives program, aimed at searching for signals from extraterrestrial civilizations.

Within its framework, Milner allocated $100 million to create a network of radio telescopes aimed at searching for so-called “technosignatures”, artificial cosmic signals.

To search for “technosignatures”, a group of astronomers led by Breakthrough Initiatives executive director Peter Vorden have developed a machine learning system capable of “sifting” the large amount of data that is collected by the Breakthrough Listen observatories.

The work of this algorithm was tested by scientists on data collected since 2016 during observations of the nearest 820 stars using the American radio telescope GBT.

Search for extraterrestrial signals

In total, astronomers observed each such luminary for about 480 hours, during which all the radio signals emanating from these stars were recorded and analyzed using a machine learning system.

It automatically filtered out all natural signals and interference generated by terrestrial objects and orbiting satellites, and recorded only those bursts of radio waves that were potentially of an artificial nature.

In total, during the entire time of observing these stars, Breakthrough Listen participants managed to record eight radio signals at once, formally meeting all the criteria of “technosignatures”.

These bursts of radio waves were generated by five nearby stars HIP 56802, HIP 118212, HIP 62207, HIP 54677 and HIP 13402.

The last three luminaries, as scientists note, gave rise to two different bursts of radio waves at once, claiming the status of signals from extraterrestrial civilizations.

All of these five stars, as the scientists note, are located at a relatively small distance from Earth, from 30 to 90 light years, which makes them especially interesting for further study.

So far, the efforts of astronomers have not been successful – repeated observations of these luminaries using both the GBT and other telescopes have not led to the re-fixation of those “technosignatures” that were found by the AI ​​system in the data of the Breakthrough Listen project.

The absence of repeated signals, as noted by Vorden and his colleagues, does not yet allow us to say that the potential “technosignatures” they discovered were generated by extraterrestrial civilizations.

As scientists hope, subsequent observations of the five stars that gave birth to them with the help of ground-based and orbiting telescopes will help astronomers get an unambiguous answer to this question in the coming years.


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