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Spectral SETI claims stir up criticism

Automated Planet Finder
The Breakthrough Listen project will use the Automated Planet Finder to observe a controversial sampling of stars. (Credit: Vogt et al. 2014 / UC-Berkeley / Lick Observatory)

Two astronomers have generated a debate by claiming that they may have found the spectral signature of messages from an extraterrestrial civilization – but the debate is mostly over whether the claims are worth publishing.

The claims are contained in a research paper that was written by Ermanno Borra and Eric Trottier of Quebec’s Laval University. The paper is scheduled to appear in the Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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