Categories
GeekWire

Strange signals from space spark interest

Arecibo telescope
The 1,000-foot radio telescope at the Arecibo Observatory played a role in “Contact.” (UPRA Photo)

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.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

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.

Leave a Reply