Team of scientists manning Ratan-600 telescope said the signal they believed at first to have originated from a distant star had a probable terrestrial origin
It was Earth all along: The team of scientists manning a huge radio telescope high in the Caucasus region have said that the signal they believed at first to have originated from distant star HD164595 was most likely the result of terrestrial interference.
The Ratan-600, a telescope located in Zelenchukskaya in the Caucasus mountains straddling Europe and Asia, surveys as much of the sky as possible for signals of possible interest. Last year, the team told a group of fellow astronomers in Moscow it believed the telescope intercepted a candidate signal worthy of further monitoring.
Unfortunately, though the information took a year to reach the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (Seti) community in the rest of the world, the astronomers from Moscow State University and the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), further scrutiny turned out to be necessary: Subsequent processing and analysis of the signal revealed its most probable terrestrial origin, wrote Yulia Sotnikova of the RAS.
Seth Shostak of Mountainview Californias Seti Institute wrote of his own skepticism late on Tuesday, having scanned the star system in question for the signal: Despite the fact that it would be both exciting and enticing to say that this signal was really from aliens inhabiting HD 164595, that would be an unwarranted assertion given the inability to confirm this signal. In the Seti business, one telescope is not enough and an array is even better.
The Ratan-600 is a valuable instrument for collecting weak signals from larger areas of the universe than most telescopes can study. Such observations at Ratan-600 are made possible owing to its large collecting area of thousands of square meters, and this high sensibility of the telescope allows us to search for extremely weak signals in the Universe, wrote Sotnikova. Those weak signals are valuable to astronomers searching the universe for something new: any artificial signal would likely be undetectable by most means.
The latest Ratan-600 survey has not been processed completely; Sotnikova writes that it is too early to claim any reliable scientific results.
Using the obtained measurements, we are only able to estimate the upper limit of the detection of the studied areas, she wrote. It can be said with confidence that no sought-for signal has been detected yet.
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