Scientists working with the Ratan-600 Radio Telescope in Russia have confirmed that the told "strange signal" that's been making headlines recently is nothing more than a terrestrial disruption caused by a Soviet satellite.
The signal was first detected back in May 2015, and was believed to be coming from the star HD 164595. The fact that it was so remarkably strong hinted at the fact that something strange was going on here. But the only odd thing here is that the signal was not coming from space at all, it was coming from Earth. Group member Alexander Ipatov, from the Russian Academy of Sciences "We indeed, discovered an unfamiliar signal. However, an extra check showed that it was emanating from a Soviet military satellite, which had not been entered into any of the catalogues of celestial bodies", told the Russian news agency TASS.
The Allen Telescope Array in California. Credit: SETI Institute
In case you missed it, few days ago, word of an intriguing signal happening to make headlines across the world after famous astronomy writer Paul Gilster wrote about it on his site Centauri Dreams. The signal, by all accounts discovered last year by the Ratan-600 telescope in Russia, was enormously strong, with a 2.7 cm (1.06-inch) wavelength with an 11 GHz frequency, which is equivalent to a digital TV signal.
All of this added up to a whole lot of excitement. So much so, the scientists from the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) detected the area, which is situated in the constellation Hercules some 94 light years away, by using the Allen Telescope Array, but they did not find anything curious. Now the scientists who firstly found the signal have set the record straight by declaring that it was nothing more than a terrestrial disruption.
Ratan-600 scientist Yulia Sotnikova told TASS, "Last and this year, the telescope’s work has dedicated on searching for Sun-like stars. There have been no scientific outcomes within the framework of this research so far. Some time ago, in the spring of this year, an uncommon signal was received but its investigation showed that it was most likely a terrestrial disturbance."
This means that the signal was coming from a Soviet satellite and in some way got mixed up in their findings, which would clarify its unusual power. Right now, the group of scientists says they are going to be making an official statement that will be conducted out shortly.
While the news is absolutely a letdown for those of us who dream of finding intelligent life somewhere in the Universe, it is pretty cool to see how the scientific public pulls together almost sudden when an intriguing signal is picked up. Confidently, with so many astronomical organizations operational together around the world, if there are signals from intelligent life coming out across the galaxy or beyond, we will be prepared to find them. But currently is not that day.