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Mysterious SETI signal probably came from Earth

The quest to find extraterrestrial life was given a short-lived boost this week when the SETI Institute (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) announced the discovery of an interesting signal.

According to the institute, Russian astronomers operating the RATAN-600 radio telescope detected a radio signal from a star system 94 light years away.

The system, called HD164595, is a few billion years older than our own, but has a star of comparable brightness and size, the institute explained. And there is indeed at least one planet orbiting the star.

“This system is known to have one planet, a Neptune-sized world in a very tight orbit, making it unattractive for life.  However, there could be other planets in this system that are still undiscovered,” SETI added.

Where did it come from?

“So what’s the bottom line?  Could it be another society sending a signal our way?  Of course, that’s possible.  However, there are many other plausible explanations for this claimed transmission — including terrestrial interference,” the institute cautioned.

Unfortunately, interference does indeed seem to be the case regarding the SETI signal.

The Special Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) in Russia issued a statement this week, putting a damper on any possible extraterrestrial talk.

No sought-for signal has been detected yet

“In the framework of this programme 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,” the SAO explained.

The Observatory added that it was too early to claim any “reliable” scientific results about any other findings made by RATAN-600.

“It can be said with confidence that no sought-for signal has been detected yet.”

Featured image: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech

Author | Hadlee Simons

Hadlee Simons
Terrible puns make Hadlee Simons difficult to work with, but he brings over seven years of tech journalism experience to the table. When he's not at work or watching motorsport, he's in the foetal position on a jiu jitsu mat. More

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