The paper "Discovery of peculiar periodic spectral modulations in a small fraction of solar type stars" from the Université Laval, Quebec this year reports the analysis of 2.5 million stars explored as part of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. The light signals exhibited "strobe-like" bursts from 234 stars.
The researchers' work is all the more dazzling for the scientific community as it strongly suggests the light pulses "have exactly the shape of an Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence signal." Following the strength of this claim, Stephen Hawking has started to analyze the truth behind it, as part of the Breakthrough Listen project, a pursuit to look for alien life in the universe.
What the paper suggests is that more than 200 extra-terrestrial civilizations could send light signals toward Earth, based on the bizarre data they observed during their research. However, the scientific community is skeptical when it comes to these assumptions, as the data based on which the paper was published doesn't unmistakably attribute the light signals to different civilizations.
"Internationally agreed-upon protocols for searches for evidence of advanced life beyond Earth (SETI) require candidates to be confirmed by independent groups using their own telescopes, and for all natural explanations to be exhausted before invoking extraterrestrial agents as an explanation," noted the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) report on the study.
As previously observed during such scientific propositions, false positives should always be taken into consideration, which would imply finding natural and instrumental causes using more than one telescope in the process.
The scientific claims are bound to be taken as premature all the more so, since one of the researchers hypothesized in 2012 that, were alien civilizations to ever contact us, it would only make sense to do it through the means of light pulses. The explanation behind this theory is that the bizarre activity would compel us to investigate the source of strange occurrence.
However scientifically accurate this hypothesis could be, conducting research with an idea in mind is never a good idea, as subconscious biases could lead the said scientist to ignore information that would otherwise perfectly explain the investigated phenomenon. This tendency can go as far as to limit the researchers' pursuit of confirming an aprioristic theory.
The SETI team has decided to get involved and analyze the outputs of the paper, while separately examining the data with at least another telescope. However, on a Rio scale, which is an established way of measuring the possibility of alien detection, this research is believed to be a 0-1 (None-Insignificant).
Photo: Abdul Rahman | Flickr