The 1,000-foot-wide radio telescope at Puerto Rico’s Arecibo Observatory will take a closer look at a red dwarf star known as Ross 128 after picking up what one astronomer said were “some very peculiar signals” during a 10-minute observing session in May.
“The signals consisted of broadband quasi-periodic non-polarized pulses with very strong dispersion-like features,” Abel Mendez, a planetary astrobiologist at the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo, said in an online advisory. Mendez is also director of the Planetary Habitability Laboratory.
Mendez said the signal did not appear to be earthly interference, “since they are unique to Ross 128, and observations of other stars immediately before and after did not show anything similar.”
He said the most likely explanations for the signals are that they’re flare-type emissions from the star, or emissions from another object in the field of view, or a radio burst from a satellite in high orbit.