Scientists detect mysterious signal from Sun’s closest stellar neighbour

Image Credit: This is Proxima Centauri shining bright in Hubble Space Telescope image

According to a report in The Guardian, scientists searching for radio signals from alien life have spotted a mysterious signal coming from the direction of Sun’s nearest stellar neighbor- Proxima Centauri star system.

Scientists are still in the process of preparing a paper on the discovery. However, the signal is a narrow beam of 980 MHz radio waves and it was detected in April/May 2019 at the Parkes Telescope, Australia.

The 980 MHz signal never returned again and was only detected once. According to Scientific American, the frequency of the signal is important as that band of radio waves typically lacks signals from human made instruments.

The Parkes telescope is the part of Breakthrough Listen project which search for radio signals from outside our Solar System. It detects unusual radio signals all the time- right from earthly sources to Sun’s natural output to natural sources from beyond our Solar System.

This particular signal appears to have come from the Proxima Centauri stellar system located at just 4.2 light years away from Sun. Surprisingly, the signal shifted slightly while being listened, more like in a way that mirrored the shift caused by the movement of a planet.

Proxima Centauri has two known exoplanets orbiting around it- one is a gas giant and other is a rocky planet seventeen percent larger than Earth.

The Guardian call it the first serious candidate for an alien signal since the WOW! Signal detected in 1977. However, the media house also cautioned that signal could also have mundane origin too- such as comet or its hydrogen cloud.

As of now the signal data is not made public.

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