About That Radio Signal from HD 164595: Never Mind. Or So They Say…

There was considerable excitement a few days ago when it was announced that an abnormally strong radio signal had been detected coming at us from a star known as HD 164595. It was so intense that speculation was rampant that ET was reaching out to us. And at a distance of 95 light years, they were in the neighbourhood.

But hang on. It seems that the signal detected by a Russian radio telescope actually came from somewhere on earth. The SETI people felt compelled to make this statement:

On August 30, 2016 there appeared a number of reports in different mass media on possible detection of a radio signal at RATAN-600 associated with the activity of an extraterrestrial civilization; in this connection, we consider it necessary to make an official comment.

In the last few years, the astronomers of the Skobeltsyn Institute of Nuclear Physics of Lomonosov Moscow State University together with their colleagues from the Special Astrophysical Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences (SAO RAS) have been conducting a survey of astronomical objects in the framework of the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) program. SETI is the common name for projects and activities for the scientific search for activity of extraterrestrial civilizations. The program is oriented towards searching for radiation of possible artificial origin. The studies are carried out with RATAN-600 using wide-range continuum radiometers in the frequency range of 1-22.7 GHz. Such observations at RATAN-600 are made possible owing to its large collecting area of thousands of square meters, and this high sensibility of the telescope allows us to search for extremely weak signals in the Universe, to which SETI objects also refer. The objects of research within this program are solar-like stars with planets and solar-like stars with possible non-detected planets.

In the framework of this program, an interesting radio signal at a wavelength of 2.7 cm was detected in the direction of one of the objects (star system HD164595 in Hercules) in 2015. Subsequent processing and analysis of the signal revealed its most probable terrestrial origin.

As for the other objects of the RATAN-600 survey, it is too early to claim about any reliable scientific results. Using the obtained measurements, we are only able to estimate the upper limit of the detection of the studied areas. It can be said with confidence that no sought-for signal has been detected yet.

Damn. Or maybe this is a good thing. Do we really want to deal with Kang and Kodos and the same time we’re looking at a President Donald Trump? No, I didn’t think so.

Or maybe–just maybe–this is disinformation to have us neuralized. Your call.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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