SETI is investigating a signal potentially from a much more advanced civilization

Researchers and scientists working for SETI and similar organizations around the world are currently deep into an investigation of a signal that could be from a much more advanced civilization than our own. The signal was detected on May 15, 2015 by the RATAN-600 radio telescope array in Russia and kept secret from the international community. The signal discovered came from a star about 6.3-billion years old in the constellation Hercules about 95 light years away from the Earth.

Paul Gilster broke the story of the signal after a paper circulated among scientists announcing a discovery described as a "strong signal in the direction of HD 164595 b." This particular system has a star called HD164595 and it is thought to be sun-like in nature and to have a composition that is metallic and nearly identical to our sun.

Scientists have discovered what they believe to be a warm Neptune planet in orbit around the star but the team stresses that there could be other planets in the system that are undiscovered. The signal has the scientists excited enough about signs of intelligent life that they have called for permanent monitoring of the target.

"The signal conceivably fits the profile for an intentional transmission from an extraterrestrial source," said Alan Boyle, author of The Case for Pluto. "In any case, the blip is interesting enough to merit discussion by those who specialize in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence."

For now, all the scientists can do is speculate about the source of the signal. The signal was strong enough that if it came from an isotropic beacon, the power source would have to from a Kardashev Type II civilization. An isotropic beacon means that the signal was sent with equal power in all directions from its source. The civilization sending this type of signal would have to be able to harness the entire energy of its host star via something along the lines of a Dyson sphere.

However, if the signal were beamed specifically in our direction, considerably less power would have been needed to send it out. In this case, the scientists theorize that the civilization sending out the signal would be a Kardashev Type I civilization. If the latter is the case, the civilization sending it out would be harnessing power via something along the lines of how we do here on Earth with solar panels. The theory is that this type of civilization would be completely globalized and interconnected. Earth is considered a Type I civilization.

"The signal is provocative enough that the RATAN-600 researchers are calling for permanent monitoring of this target," said Gilster.

SETI has diverted the Allen Telescope Array in California to investigate the system in question to see if it can learn more about the signal or detect the signal itself. SETI contemporary METI International (Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence) is using the Boquete Optical Observatory in Panama to investigate the signal as well. The signal will be discussed during the IAA SETI Permanent Committee meeting in Mexico on September 27. SETI scientist Seth Shostak has said in the past that he believes we will discover intelligent life during our lifetime, it remains to be seen if that life has been discovered. In the meantime, someone should let Jodi Foster know we may need her.

SOURCE: Observer