Astronomers Solve Mystery Of Strange Signals From Red Dwarf Star Ross 128
Astronomers earlier reported about odd signals that they detected from a small dim star located about 11 light-years from Earth.
Odd Signal From Red Dwarf Star
Abel Mendez, an astrobiologist from the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo, and colleagues discovered the peculiar signal using the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico earlier this year during observations that attempt to learn more about planets and objects that orbit a group of red dwarf stars.
The peculiar signals they detected from one of these stars, Ross 128, led to some theories.
Earlier Theories That Attempt To Explain Mysterious Signals From Ross 128
The three leading explanations were solar flare-like emissions from the red dwarf star, emissions from other objects in the same field of view, and a burst of a satellite that orbits high above Earth. Some think of the possibility the signals may be from extraterrestrial sources.
Odd Signals Observed In Other Stars
Strange signals from stars often raise optimism that these come from extraterrestrial life. The mysterious dimming of the Tabby's star, for example, was suspected to have extraterrestrial origins. Two scientists also proposed the idea that the signals from 234 stars that exhibit rapid burst of light, which were catalogued by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, could be messages from an intelligent extraterrestrial civilization that tell aliens exist.
Signals From Ross 128 Not Likely From Extraterrestrial Beings
The idea of intelligent alien life behind the newly detected signals from Ross 128, however, does not seem feasible, scientists said.
"In case you are wondering, the recurrent aliens hypothesis is at the bottom of many other better explanations," Mendez wrote. The astronomers wanted to be certain so they started to conduct another set of observations on July 16.
Origin Of The Strange Signals
After further analysis of the signals dubbed Weird! Signal, the scientists reported that they have finally determined where these came from: from one or more geostationary satellites.
Mendez explained that this makes sense since the signals were within the frequencies of satellites and only seem to appear and persist in Ross 128, which happens to be close to the celestial equators, where there are many geostationary satellites.
"After a careful analysis of the observations we performed last Sunday from the Arecibo Observatory, together with SETI Berkeley using the Green Bank Telescope and the SETI Institute's Allen Telescope Array, we are now confident about the source of the Weird! Signal. The best explanation is that the signals are transmissions from one or more geostationary satellites," Mendez wrote.