Strange messages coming from the stars are ‘probably’ from aliens, scientists say

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Strange messages coming from the stars are ‘probably’ from aliens, scientists say

'It is too early to unequivocally attribute these purported signals to the activities of extraterrestrial civilizations,' a group of scientists looking for aliens have warned – but the signals are encouraging

starsnightsky.jpg Almost all of the stars we can see are normal. Except for 234 very important, very odd ones Getty

Scientists have heard hugely unusual messages from deep in space that they think are coming from aliens.

A new analysis of strange modulations in a tiny set of stars appears to indicate that it could be coming from extraterrestrial intelligence that is looking to alert us to their existence.

The new study reports the finding of specific modulations in just 234 out of the 2.5 million stars that have been observed during a survey of the sky. The work found that a tiny fraction of them seemed to be behaving strangely.

Nasa's most stunning pictures of space

Nasa's most stunning pictures of space

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  • 2/30 Frosty slopes of Mars

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  • 3/30 Orion Capsule splashes down

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  • 4/30 The Soyuz TMA-15M rocket launch

    The Soyuz TMA-15M rocket launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Monday, Nov. 24, 2014, carrying three new astronauts to the International Space Station. It also took caviar, ready for the satellite's inhabitants to celebrate the holidays

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  • 5/30 Yellowstone from space

    NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman shared this image of Yellowstone via his twitter account

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  • 6/30 Black Hole Friday

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  • 7/30 NuSTAR

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  • 8/30 Saturn

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  • 9/30 Worlds Apart

    Although Mimas and Pandora, shown here, both orbit Saturn, they are very different moons. Pandora, "small" by moon standards (50 miles or 81 kilometers across) is elongated and irregular in shape. Mimas (246 miles or 396 kilometers across), a "medium-sized" moon, formed into a sphere due to self-gravity imposed by its higher mass

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  • 10/30 Solar Flare

    An X1.6 class solar flare flashes in the middle of the sun in this image taken 10 September, captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory

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  • 11/30 Solar Flare

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  • 12/30 Cassiopeia A c

    A false colour image of Cassiopeia A comprised with data from the Spitzer and Hubble Space Telescopes and the Chandra X-Ray observatory

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  • 13/30 Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy

    An image of the Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy seen in infrared light by the Herschel Space Observatory. Regions of space such as this are where new stars are born from a mixture of elements and cosmic dust

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  • 14/30 Mars Rover Spirit

    Nasa's Mars Rover Spirit took the first picture from Spirit since problems with communications began a week earlier. The image shows the robotic arm extended to the rock called Adirondack

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  • 15/30 Morning Aurora From the Space Station

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  • 16/30 Launch of History - Making STS-41G Mission in 1984

    The Space Shuttle Challenger launches from Florida at dawn. On this mission, Kathryn Sullivan became the first U.S. woman to perform a spacewalk and Marc Garneau became the first Canadian in space. The crew of seven was the largest to fly on a spacecraft at that time, and STS-41G was the first flight to include two female astronauts

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  • 28/30 Expedition 39 Landing

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And there appears to be no obvious explanation for what is going on, leaving the scientists behind the paper to conclude that the messages are coming from aliens.

“We find that the detected signals have exactly the shape of an [extraterrestrial intelligence] signal predicted in the previous publication and are therefore in agreement with this hypothesis,” write EF Borra and E Trottier in a new paper. “The fact that they are only found in a very small fraction of stars within a narrow spectral range centered near the spectral type of the sun is also in agreement with the ETI hypothesis,” the two scientists from Laval University in Quebec write.

The research has been accepted for publication in the journal Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, under the title 'Signals probably from Extraterrestrial Intelligence'.

But they make clear that further work will need to be done to confirm or deny that hypothesis. That will need to be done by watching for the same signals on different equipment so that all other explanations can be discarded.

Breakthrough Listen – an initiative set up this year to look for alien life and supported by people including Stephen Hawking and Mark Zuckerberg – said that the message was promising. But they said that further work will have to be done before they can be “unequivocally attributed” to aliens.

“The one in 10,000 objects with unusual spectra seen by Borra and Trottier are certainly worthy of additional study,” the team said in a statement. “However, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

Hawking launches alien search

“It is too early to unequivocally attribute these purported signals to the activities of extraterrestrial civilizations. Internationally agreed-upon protocols for searches for evidence of advanced life beyond Earth (SETI) require candidates to be confirmed by independent groups using their own telescopes, and for all natural explanations to be exhausted before invoking extraterrestrial agents as an explanation.

“Careful work must be undertaken to determine false positive rates, to rule out natural and instrumental explanations, and most importantly, to confirm detections using two or more independent telescopes.”

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