SETI Investigates 'Interesting' Signal From Deep Space
But don't get too excited about ET just yet
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 30, 2016 7:46 AM CDT
California's Allen Telescope Array.   (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

(Newser) – Are aliens living 95 light-years away reaching out to say hello? OK, probably not, but astronomers are nevertheless intrigued by an unusual signal reported out of Russia, reports the Observer. It seems to be coming from the general vicinity of an ancient star in the constellation Hercules known as HD164595, which has at least one planet in its orbit. The signal was detected by the RATAN-600 radio telescope in Zelenchukskaya on May 15, 2015, but only just made public in a paper, reports the website Centauri Dreams. The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence has begun looking into it, and "the signal is provocative enough that the RATAN-600 researchers are calling for permanent monitoring of this target," writes Paul Gilster.

The reason it's generating so many headlines on science websites is that the signal has the hallmarks of one that would come an advanced civilization. After all, it would take an enormous amount of energy to blast it out deliberately, notes Space.com. Unfortunately for sci-fi fans, the best bet is that the signal is the result of some kind of interference from Earth, reports New Scientist. It might even come from our own military's communications, reports Ars Technica. "Could it be another society sending a signal our way?" asks SETI's Seth Sostak in a blog post. "Of course, that’s possible." But plenty of other explanations exist, and "without a confirmation of this signal, we can only say that it’s 'interesting.'" Astronomers will discuss the signal at a SETI meeting on Sept. 27. (SETI is also looking for signals from another star.)