Something strange is going on at the closest star to the sun. A mysterious radio signal is coming from Proxima Centauri, which is too dim to be seen from Earth with the naked eye. Despite being too dim for us to see from Earth, it’s a cosmic stone throw away at only 4.2 light-years away. A mysterious signal is emanating from the star, which was discovered in archived data gathered last year.
The signal was discovered this fall and appears to come from the direction of Proxima Centauri. As of now, researchers have been unable to dismiss the signal as interference from Earth. While detecting a strange signal coming from a nearby star certainly has tantalizing possibilities, scientists on the project caution, there is still lots of work to be done.
Researcher Andrew Siemion from the University of California, Berkeley has said that the signal has properties that have caused it to pass many checks so far, and it can’t be explained. One of the most curious aspects of the signal is that it occupies an extremely narrow radio spectrum of 982 megahertz. That is a spectral range that is typically empty of any transmissions from human-made satellites and spacecraft.
The researcher says that there is no known natural way to compress electromagnetic energy into a single band frequency. Siemion does say that there could be some unknown exotic work of plasma physics that could account for the signal. However, he admits that for now, the only source that is known for such a signal is technological.
The signal was detected by a project known as Breakthrough Listen led by Siemion and backed by tech billionaire Yuri Milner. The project’s goal is to buy time on radio telescopes worldwide, specifically to search for evidence of technological civilizations in the vastness of the universe.