World China Says It May Have Detected Signals From Alien Civilizations

tom_mai78101

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China said its giant Sky Eye telescope may have picked up signs of alien civilizations, according to a report by the state-backed Science and Technology Daily, which then appeared to have deleted the report and posts about the discovery.

The narrow-band electromagnetic signals detected by Sky Eye -- the world’s largest radio telescope -- differ from previous ones captured and the team is further investigating them, the report said, citing Zhang Tonjie, chief scientist of an extraterrestrial civilization search team co-founded by Beijing Normal University, the National Astronomical Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the University of California, Berkeley.

It isn’t clear why the report was apparently removed from the website of the Science and Technology Daily, the official newspaper of China’s science and technology ministry, though the news had already started trending on social network Weibo and was picked up by other media outlets, including state-run ones.

In September 2020, Sky Eye, which is located in China’s southwestern Guizhou province and has a diameter of 500 meters (1,640 feet), officially launched a search for extraterrestrial life. The team detected two sets of suspicious signals in 2020 while processing data collected in 2019, and found another suspicious signal in 2022 from observation data of exoplanet targets, Zhang said, according to the report.

China’s Sky Eye is extremely sensitive in the low-frequency radio band and plays a critical role in the search for alien civilizations, Zhang is reported to have said.


(Might be paywalled.)
 

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China reported this week that the most powerful ground-based radio telescope may have identified technological traces of an alien civilization in an electromagnetic signal from space. The Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST) in southeast China picked up the narrow-band signal, typical of an artificial source and not a natural one, such as a black hole or stars. But it was too good to be true.

What researchers actually found was radio-frequency interference originating on Earth, likely from cell phones, computers, satellites, or any number of other electronics located near the observatory. All of these devices produce weak radio transmissions of their own.

“THESE SIGNALS ARE FROM RADIO INTERFERENCE; THEY ARE DUE TO RADIO POLLUTION FROM EARTHLINGS, NOT FROM ET.”

FAST’s unique ability to scan in 19 different directions of the sky helps eliminate signals coming from more than one direction at a time, astronomer Vishal Gajjar tells Popular Mechanics in an email. An alien signal would originate from a single point in the sky. In fact, this technique eliminated 99 percent of the signals in this particular survey, says Gajjar, who is project scientist for the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute’s Breakthrough Listen project at the University of California, Berkeley. One percent of signals had to be studied more carefully.

“As one of the co-authors of this study, I can firmly say that these are not likely to be alien in origin. The found signal was checked with all details and we found that it was not actually coming from the sky but likely to be generated by our own Earth-based technology,” he says.

 
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