A leaked report has let it slip that Astronomers have been studying a weird signal coming from Proxima Centauri since 2019. And it’s a weird signal for a number of reasons.

So What Makes It A Weird Signal

Firstly, it’s not a local signal as sometimes happens, where a satellite just happens to line up with a star system we are trying to study, or background radiation, leaking signal from faulty equipment and so forth. 

Astronomers were able to confirm the distant signal by performing a “nodding” test with the telescope, where they point it away from the target, and watch the signal vanish, then point it back again to confirm it reappears. 

The telescope looks like it is nodding during the test, thus the nickname, which allows a single telescope to start ruling out local sources such as a transitory satellite which would be expected to move during the test. 

The initial observation and testing was carried out by the famous Murriyang Telescope (previously known as the Parkes Observatory) in Parkes Australia.

The telescope came to fame when it was used to transmit video footage to the world for the first Moon landing in 1969, during NASA’s most famous mission. 

Could this telescope have made another incredibly significant contribution to science with this recent observation?

Murriyang Telescope - Weird Signal
Murriyang 'Skyworld' Telescope - Detects Weird Signal - image credit CSIRO

Secondly, it’s a weird signal because it is narrow band, in fact it’s not just narrow band, it’s very narrow band, specifically at the 982.002 MHz frequency. Most known sources emit broad band signal, across the spectrum.

To date, astronomers have not seen a narrow band signal like this or at this frequency, from any naturally occurring spatial phenomenon.

It could be something naturally occurring we haven’t seen before, but equally it could be artificial.

Proxima Centauri - Weird Signal Detected
Proxima Centauri - Weird Signal Detected - Image Source NASA

Thirdly, it is a weird signal because it appears to exhibit doppler shift. This is exactly what we would expect if the signal was coming from a stationary position on a planet.

As the planet rotates, we see a corresponding wobble like shift in the signal. 

We have previously confirmed that Maxima Centauri has multiple planets in orbit around it, and in fact at least one of them is in the goldilocks zone, in terms of distance from the sun for water to exist. 

Lastly, and this is less odd than unlikely, Proxima Centauri is actually the closest star system to our own. It’s literally our next door neighbour. 

What are the odds of us looking for E.T and finding them at the nearest solar system to our own. 

It could be they are everywhere, it could be this region of space is perfectly suited to life given the right conditions, it could be we haven’t found them at all and it’s just a big coincidence. 

However another possibility exists, maybe they found us a long time ago, and it’s just a handy location to watch our progress. A base of operations as close as they can get without being observed.

Some have pointed out that the signal does not change, that it has no complexity, and that this probably indicates it’s not a highly advanced civilisation keeping an eye on us. 

Again, maybe it’s intentional, dumbed down for us to find, it’s very hard to imagine the motives of an alien species. I don’t think we should rule anything out. 

It’s an extremely exciting signal, which shows many of the potential hall marks for E.T. There is no message within the signal, which is slightly disappointing, but certainly not conclusive either way. 

One thing is for sure, we haven’t seen anything like this to date, so whatever it turns out to be, it will be fascinating to investigate further and well worth obtaining more information and detail through observation. 

Let’s keep our eyes and minds open and follow the science to see where it leads. 

Check back regularly for other Breaking Space News.

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