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.

About Alan Boyle

Award-winning science writer, creator of Cosmic Log, 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.
This entry was posted in GeekWire and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s