Scientists studying nearby stars have spotted “very peculiar signals” coming from one of them.
Unexplained pulses are coming from Ross 128, a small star that is in the constellation virgo, according to astronomers at the Aricebo Observatory.
The signals appear not to be the result of interference, since they are unique to the specific star and weren’t spotted when looking at other stars before and after it.
Nasa’s most stunning pictures of space Nasa’s most stunning pictures of space
The scientists say that there are three main possible explanations for the strange signals.
The first is that they are coming from the star itself, emissions similar to the solar flares that come out of our own Sun. Second is that they are being thrown out by something else that is in a similar part of the sky. An third is that they are just a burst from high orbit satellites that are floating around the Earth.
But each of those explanations appears incomplete.
Solar flares would normally occur at much lower frequencies than are being received from the star, and they are dispersed much more widely than expected. There doesn’t seem to be any objects near Ross 128 that could be throwing off such a signal. And satellites haven’t ever sent out bursts of the kinds that are being picked up now.
That doesn’t mean that scientists are jumping to blame or thanks aliens for the signals. “In case you are wondering, the recurrent aliens hypothesis is at the bottom of many other better explanations,” wrote Abel Méndez, an astrobiologist and director of the Planetary Habilitability Laboratory, in a statement on his lab’s website.
Scientists hope to look in more detail at the star and understand more about the signal and where it is coming from. Astronomers will report their findings in more detail later this week, and Professor Méndez said he has a “Piña Colada ready to celebrate if the signals result to be astronomical in nature”.