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Earth Space NASA News Science Technology

SETI's 'Strong Signal' Came From Earth (arstechnica.com) 146

Yesterday, it was reported that Russia has detected a strong signal around 11 GHz coming from HD164595, a star nearly identical in mass to the Sun and located about 95 light years away from Earth. Well, long story short the signal came Earth. Ars Technica reports: "First, astronomers with the search for extraterrestrial intelligence downplayed the possibility of an alien civilization. 'There are many other plausible explanations for this claimed transmission, including terrestrial interference,' Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer with SETI, wrote. Now the Special Astrophysical Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences has concurred, releasing a statement on the detection of a radio signal at the RATAN-600 radio astronomy observatory in southern Russia. 'Subsequent processing and analysis of the signal revealed its most probable terrestrial origin,' the Russian scientists said."
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SETI's 'Strong Signal' Came From Earth

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  • Woohoo! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 31, 2016 @04:53PM (#52804729)

    We found intelligence on Earth!

  • by tekrat ( 242117 ) on Wednesday August 31, 2016 @04:54PM (#52804739) Homepage Journal

    *WE* are the aliens!!!!! (dramatic sting)........

    • by aliquis ( 678370 ) <dospam@gmail.com> on Wednesday August 31, 2016 @05:10PM (#52804847) Homepage

      .. the search for intelligent life in the universe continues.

    • We traced the call. It's coming from inside your house!!!

    • Well, to be fair, to the other 7 billion people on this planet *you* are "the other guy". Why shouldn't the presence of possibly billions of billions of alien life change that?

      Besides - this just means there might be some sort of giant super mirror out there. Cool either because, well, aliens right? But I would imagine also that the astrophysics folks would get some serious geek out moments from it...

    • The signal is coming from INSIDE THE HOUSE!!!
    • We are legend

  • That's the NSA pinging their way-off-shore backup facility..

  • Crazy transient radio signal isn't aliens? What am I supposed to do with my EMDrive now?

  • I knew it. Both Hilliary and Trump are both aliens. No matter who wins we lose!

    • Don't blame me! I voted for Kodos.

    • Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos.
  • 'cause the Russian's will hack more emails. lol.
  • Well, long story short the signal came Earth.

    That may be shortening the story a little too much. Or did the Earth get here via a signal from another star 95 light years away? I'd say that's some pretty big news.

    • Since the star is 95 LY away, that would imply that if the "mirror" is at the star, then the round-trip time would be 190 years. So, a very powerful terrestrial signal at 11 GHz in 1826.

      I'm not even sure that sparks generate anything like that high a frequency. They were just getting as far as solenoids and galvanometers, as I recall. Maybe just getting a handle on induction.

  • And I had just broken out my "All hail our Alien Overlords!" signs. Now I have to put them back... argh!
    • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

      And I had just broken out my "All hail our Alien Overlords!" signs. Now I have to put them back... argh!

      You can still put it up down by the Rio Grande. Trump was down there negotiating with them.

  • Of course the signal comes from Earth. Where do you think the aliens come from? Don't you guys watch the History Channel?

    https://youtu.be/QA_Dw71Satc [youtu.be]

  • What would the difference be anyway? Yay, we found POSSIBLE sign of life 65 billion years from where we live, or its just business as usual?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      What would the difference be anyway? Yay, we found POSSIBLE sign of life 65 billion years from where we live, or its just business as usual?

      Did you just discover nihilism? Don't answer that. It doesn't make any difference.

    • by Immerman ( 2627577 ) on Wednesday August 31, 2016 @08:08PM (#52805701)

      I'll admit a 180 year round trip makes for slow conversations, but if we were to establish communication with an intelligent race elsewhere in the universe, there's no telling what we might learn from them. Physical travel between stars might never be practical, but an exchange of science, art, culture, and philosophy could be a practical reality. And any civilization we can detect across interstellar distances is almost certainly far more technologically advanced than we are, so there's no telling what we might learn.

      Of course any sort of two-way communication begun at this point would be irrelevant to anyone currently alive, aside from whatever sociological fallout there might be to discovering with certainty that we're not alone (I'm sure a few religions would squirm for a while, and plenty of new cults would pop up), but there's also the possibility that a signal is the first of many to be detected, with further, more information-rich signals already in transit. Possibly at a much lower power that would be harder to detect. Like a loud, fiendishly expensive "Hey, Listen" chirp periodically introduced into an otherwise more economical data transmission.

      • there's no telling what we might learn from them.

        And what could that possibly be?

        There are intelligent aliens. Okay, that would be a pretty groundbreaking discovery all by itself.

        We'll probably not learn much in the ways of science or technology from them, or at least no much that we couldn't discover ourselves within a reasonable (few hundred years) timespan.

        That basically leaves philosophy and possibly religion as topics. And poetry.

        • A few hundred years? You give humanity incredible credit, or perhaps assume that "all possible things that can be done" is and incredibly small set.

          Considering the chaotic fits and starts with which life and civilization emerged on this planet, and the potential timing differences that could accumulate over a few billion years make it more likely that their civilization would be thousands or even millions of years ahead of ours than only centuries. And even if by some miracle they were of a comparable tec

          • by Ihlosi ( 895663 )
            A few hundred years? You give humanity incredible credit, or perhaps assume that "all possible things that can be done" is and incredibly small set.

            I'm just working under the assumption that any aliens we actually get to talk to will have roughly our level of science and technology. Any civilization significantly more advanced will probably not bother talking to a bunch of unwashed barbarians.

            Think of everything we don't know about the universe,

            Well ... ok. Maybe they could tell us more about the st

            • How about physics? We thought in the 1800s that we knew almost all there was to know about physics, with only a few odd anomalies unexplained - anomalies which eventually led to QM and Relativity and fundamentally changed how we saw the universe, and greatly expanded how we could manipulate it. Today we know with certainty that our current theories are at least incomplete, possibly fundamentally flawed, and there's no telling how many more world-changing revisions are yet to come. To say nothing of applica

              • by Ihlosi ( 895663 )
                How about physics?

                Any alien civilization with significantly more advanced knowledge of physics will probably not bother talking to us, unless they're really bored or see it as the duty to enlighten less advanced civilizations.

                And if their knowledge of civilization is only slightly more advanced than ours, we can probably catch up to their level in the time (>100 years) it takes for our message to get there and their response to get back here.

                Or biology

                True - that might be another interesting top

        • oh, what if our thinking has gone irretrievably down the wrong path in certain areas...like maybe we can't unify GR and quantum mechanics because there is a better model than both that we'll never find because our minds are "stuck in a rut"

          and don't give me shit about "string theory", those wankers have been going at it for decades with NOTHING provable to show for their nonsense, unlike GR and QM which at least are useful in their realms and predict experiments we can do

          • The problem is that we can't break GR and QM adequately with current experiments and observations. Until we can break a scientific theory, we can't replace it.

            • not true, we had GR (which replaces 17th century physics) and the observations confirming it came much later.

              • by Ihlosi ( 895663 )
                not true

                Einstein himself showed that GR explained at least one phenomenon (perihelion precession) that Newtonian mechanics didn't.

                All the other observations just served to confirm GR over and over.

      • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

        Physical travel between stars might never be practical, but an exchange of science, art, culture, ...

        As soon as they see the Kanye & the Kardasians, they'll likely aim their photon torpedoes at us.

      • I'm most interested in their art, culture, philosophy, and religion. We have millennia of practice and study of human thought in these fields, and it would be fascinating to have something to compare it to.

        To give one example: some people have spiritual experiences. These are either real or based on some oddities of brain evolution, and a completely different evolution situation would be unlikely to come up with the same oddities.

      • an exchange of science, art, culture, and philosophy could be a practical reality. And any civilization we can detect across interstellar distances is almost certainly far more technologically advanced than we are, so there's no telling what we might learn.

        You spend a lot of your time and effort on teaching chimpanzees the ethics of flinging poo around the cage?

        (Apologies to any chimps intelligent enough to be offended by the poo-flinging stereotype. Hey guys, we've got a presidential candidate like Trump

        • Not personally, no. But there are plenty of scientists who have dedicated their lives to working with apes. Not necessarily for the good of the apes, but to satisfy their scientific curiosity. And the apes learn all sorts of interesting things along the way - sophisticated sign-language skills, mathematics, etc. They largely lack the cultural knowledge transmission methods to productively spread such sophisticated knowledge throughout the population, but if we found ourselves in a similar position we co

          • if you think otherwise then I invite you to permanently abstain from TV, movies, music, paintings, essays, etc.

            Music and paintings certainly are a waste of space. Most movies too - there are some decent documentaries. TV has some useful documentaries and news - which is what I use it for. Radio more so.

            Show me something useful that philosophy has done and I'll maybe think about giving it a few more hours of attention. Art can be profitable. Useless, but profitable.

  • And received 0 mod points https://slashdot.org/comments.... [slashdot.org]
  • Just a TV broadcast of Hitler opening the 1936 Olympic Games.

  • The call is coming from inside the house.... well, planet.
  • In Soviet Russia, intelligent life searches for you.
  • A very strong signal reduces the probability it is ET, it increases the huge amounts of energy needed to create it. A real signal probably would be very faint.

    • A very strong signal reduces the probability it is ET, it increases the huge amounts of energy needed to create it. A real signal probably would be very faint.

      Why would they even bother when they can just come and make some patterns in a field somewhere?

  • Clearly, about 180 years ago, some smartarse troll built a steam engine capable of broadcasting a signal at HD164595 and we're just now getting the echo.

    Well played.
  • Where on the Kardashev scale does this place us?
  • X band is used for a lot of things: radar, satellite, microwave relay stations, motion detector, ham radio...the FCC just opened some spectrum at 10.85GHz for 5G (along with 27.5-28.35 GHz, 37-38.6 GHz and 38.6-40 GHz

    • by bentit ( 2763157 )
      10.7 to 12.7 GHz is the Ku band satellite downlink band in Europe. If it was 11 GHz I would think it would be hard not to receive interference in a side lobe. I can't find the exact frequency online--only that the front end has a 1 GHz bandwidth which also seems odd. Once someone other than the media looked into this it became a non-event anyway.
      • Even the Russian SETI astronomers that reported it said signal was interesting but probably terrestrial. A lot of media didn't bother to quote the source entirely.

  • This recent article has related info, and what the protocol is in the event of a signal discovery.

    http://fivethirtyeight.com/fea... [fivethirtyeight.com]

  • "I'm not saying it was aliens, but .... wait ... I guess it's not aliens. Anyone want some microwave popcorn?"

  • Sad face.

  • When reading this headline the first thing I thought was having Koothrappali explain the importance of the signal in the opening of a Big Bang Theory episode. And then at the end of the episode have Sheldon says "yep, I was right, no freaking E.T."
  • We've traced the call... it's coming from inside the house!!!
  • looking for somebody they can anally probe

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