CNN reports "Unexplained radio signal from deep space."


It’s been picked up three times from one observatory. They didn’t mention if anybody else has tried to tune in, but I’m sure lots of people are. It’s the sort of thing that will probably turn out to be some unknown stellar phenomenon, but who knows? Hearing news like this is a lot like buying a lottery ticket… It’s a zillion-to-one odds against striking it rich, but it’s fun to speculate what happens if you do hit all six numbers!

If a signal did come from some distant part of space, what would we do? Try to send a signal back? I guess when it comes to interstellar space, there’s no practical thing as “close” until NASA or somebody gets on the stick and invents the warp drive… :slight_smile:


Are they checking it for prime numbers?

This is exciting, even though I imagine it will turn out to be an artifact of the telescope (the fact just one observatory keeps hearing it suggests it is).

But then again…

Well, according to the Arecibo project scientists, its a big hoo-haa about nothing

Amusing that the just dropped this quote into the middle of the article with no further explanation.

Joceyln Bell discovered pulsars back when she was a graduate student. For a while, the sources of the extremely regular signals, coming somewhere beyond our Solar System, were labeled “LGM-1” and “LGM-2”.

LGM stood for “Little Green Man.” :slight_smile:

Did you catch the end, it was identified by the Seti@Hom project, aren’t there a bunch od Dopers running the program?

Mayby this is the touted “October Surprise”! Surprise, the little green men are coming to visit. And they’re voting Republican!!

And in that vein, they really should check the periodicity of the signals then. :wink:

Welp, the Beeb is reporting that it’s a non-event.

Of course, they’re just ticked off that the aliens didn’t contact them first…

I’ve seen the movies… that’s what they ALWAYS say! :smiley:

Well, you know us astronomers, masters of the understated comment. :slight_smile:

They’re Dopers! Fairly od Dopers!

We are an od bunch, aren’t we?

I thought we were an Og bunch myself.


I posted this in GD but something tells me this thread will be more active. This is the New Scientist article that got some people too excited. There’s a lot more detail here.

I think hearing signals from space and finding extra solar Earth-like planets (if we find strong evidence that these may be from LGM or may be habitable planets) will actually be a huge boost for our space exploration and technological breakthroughs departments. I believe money will be channeled to organizations that try really hard to get us off this planet and toward that other planet in a manner not unlike the Cold War battle for the Moon.

That’s just something I’m really excited about. So silly, wishful post.

The thought that hit me when I first read this story is where did the signal come from. What if the signal comes from 10,000 light years away? Or 100,000? What has happened to the senders during that time? Would they even still be there? What will the Earth be like 100,000 years from now when they get a reply?

There’d probably be a short-term boost in funding, but unless people start seeing reality shows on Fox guest starring little green men, public interest will fade. Fortunately, there will always be the braniacs who will be working behind the scenes to figure out what’s what and how to get out there… But I think the effect of detecting an honest-to-goodness alien transmission will be a few months of “gee whiz” followed by a lengthy period of “we now return you to your regularly scheduled mundane existance in your little corner of the universe.”


Have you read Contact, EZ? If you’re interested in SETI, you would probably enjoy it. The book is much more thoughtful than the movie, and talks about how Ellie goes on with her life after the trip–the same sort of issues you’re thinking of.

I think it’s nothing… from here

If the thing always starts off at exactly the same frequency before starting to drift, that tells me there is something very NOT right about our reception of this signal.

Just remember, “unexplained” does NOT mean, “so it must be caused by slimly built, gray-skinned aliens with big heads and enormous black almond-shaped eyes”.