China, “The Radio Telescope May Have Picked Up Alien Signals”
The announcement of the scientists.
China claims it has detected signals that may have come from extraterrestrial civilizations. This was announced by Professor Zhang Tongjie, scientist of the Department of Astronomy of Peking University, who states that the Chinese Sky Eye radioscope has detected narrowband electromagnetic signals different from all those detected in the past. The professor specified that these are only suspects and that researchers are working on further investigations.
The search for the Chinese Sky Eye
The “alien” signals were detected with the Chinese Sky Eye, the largest and most sensitive radio telescope in the world located in southwestern China (its scientific name is FAST, an acronym for Five hundred meter Aperture Spherical Telescope). Due to its sensitivity in the low frequency radio band, this radio telescope is considered one of the most suitable for picking up extraterrestrial signals. For this reason, Peking University has entered into an agreement with Berkeley University aimed at researching alien civilizations.
Alien signal or interference?
In 2020, the team identified two sets of suspicious signals during data processing, and in 2022, they picked up a third. But how to distinguish natural signals from those coming from intelligent alien civilizations? The team of researchers proposed a first model (called multi-beam matching) and identified a set of criteria concerning the frequency and polarization of signals. Now these models and criteria will be applied to check whether it is plausible that the “non-normal” detected signals could come from intelligent civilizations: “It is very likely that the suspected signal is some kind of radio interference. Both hypotheses need to be further confirmed or excluded, which could be a long process. The ‘China Sky Eye’ will repeat the observations of suspicious signals already detected to further screen and identify new signals, “said Zhang Tongjie.
The power of radio telescopes like FAST
The “anomalous” radio signals have always been at the attention of those who hunt for possible alien communications, because they easily penetrate the atmosphere. For this reason, radio telescopes have always been the pillar of the search for extraterrestrial civilizations: in the 1960s, the American astronomer Frank Drake launched the first modern experiment to search for intelligent extraterrestrial life using the deceased Arecibo radio telescope, to no avail. The “Chinese Eye” is much more powerful and sensitive than Arecibo and can collect as many as 19 signals from different areas of the sky.
In short, to date there is no evidence of interstellar communications with extraterrestrial life forms, but only suspicious signals. For fans, the question remains: is the silence out there real, because we are the only intelligent beings in the universe, or are we, with our limited technological means, unable to hear what the aliens are trying to communicate to us?