Scientists announced that the mysterious radio signal, which researchers believed may have come from Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to Earth, was likely a false positive.

Breakthrough Listen Initiative researchers found that the 2020 “intriguing” signal was likely just an artifact Earth-based interference from human technology.

Sofia Sheikh, a researcher for the Listen team, looked through the data set of signals and found that they are spaced at “regular frequency intervals.” 

The intervals correspond to multiples frequencies used by oscillators in electronic devices.

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The radio signal researchers thought came from Proxima Centauri (pictured) is likely nothing more than a 'false positive'

Researchers believe the radio signal that they thought came from Proxima Centauri (pictured below) is a false positive. 

The signal, picked up in 2020, is likely just an 'an artifact of Earth-based interference from human technologies.' Pictured, a not-to-scale representation of how far away Proxima B is from Earth compared to Voyager 1, the farthest man-made object which was launched in 1977

The 2020 signal is likely to be an ‘artifact of Earth-based interferences from human technologies’. A not-too-scale representation of how far Proxima B from Earth is compared to Voyager 1 (the farthest man-made object launched in 1977). 

The researchers scanned the Proxima Centauri star system across a wide range of frequencies, from 700 megahertz to 4 gigahertz

The researchers scan the Proxima Centauri starsystem at a wide frequency range, ranging from 700 megahertz through to 4 gigahertz.

Four million hits that were eventually whittled away to 1 million after looking at hits with no motion

After examining hits without motion, four million hits were finally reduced to one million.

After examining hits without motion, the researchers scanned the Proxima Centauri star constellation at a wide frequency range, from 700 megahertz up to 4 gigahertz.

Another filter was applied to the remaining hits as they had to appear from Proxima Centauri.

The Parkes Telescope was pointed at a star by the researchers. After pointing it away, the telescope toggled between the ‘on/off’ pattern multiple times, leaving them with 5,160 possible candidates.

After weeding out more signals, there was one – known as BLC1 – that had ‘characteristics broadly consistent with hypothesized technosignatures,’ but it too is likely just a case of human technology.

Sheikh stated that all of the evidence suggested that the signal is interference from technology human, but they were unable to identify the source.

After weeding out signals, there was one, known as BLC1 (pictured), that had 'characteristics broadly consistent with hypothesized technosignatures,' but it too is likely just a case of human technology

After weeding out signals, one was left, BLC1 (pictured), which had ‘characteristics broadly compatible with hypothesized technosignatures’, but it is likely that it is a case of human technology.

Proxima Centauri is 4.2 light years from Earth and has two confirmed planets, a gas giant (Proxima c) and a rocky world, known as Proxima b. Artist's rendering of Proxima Centauri system.  Proxima c orbits in about 5.2 years around Proxima Centauri and Proxima b, on the left, was discovered in 2016 that orbits in the 'habitable zone' closer than Mercury is to the Sun

Proxima Centauri, located 4.2 lightyears from Earth, has two confirmed planets. One is a gas giant (Proximac) and one is a rocky world (Proximab). Artist’s rendering Proxima Centauri.  Proxima Centauri orbits Proxima C in approximately 5.2 years. Proxima B orbits in approximately 5.3 years. Proxima Centauri orbits in roughly the same time as Proxima Centauri. Proxima Centauri, on the left was discovered in 2016. It orbits in the “habitable zone” closer to Mercury than the Sun.

Proxima B: The closest exoplanet of the Earth 

Proxima B is the nearest exoplanet of the Earth and the nearest planet to the star Proxima centauri.

It orbits within the star’s habitable zone – however, Proxima Centauri, a red dwarf much smaller than the Sun, is very close to it.

Proxima orbits its star every 11.2 Earthdays. It has a mass approximately 1.2 times that the Earth.

The solar winds that blow across the rocky world are 2,000 times stronger than those that hit Earth from the Sun.

It is not in a zone where liquid water can form, but these stellar winds make it unlikely that life could evolve.

The planet was discovered on August 16, 2016 and is believed to be tidally locked.

These reasons are why, even though it is in the habitable zone of the Earth, its actual habitability cannot be established.

However, studies have suggested that the planet might have surface oceans and a thin atmospheric layer. This has not been confirmed.

Astronomers will not know if it has water, or an atmosphere, until it is visible transiting in front its star – which has yet.

It is possible that life could have developed on the planet if water and atmosphere are present. 

Scientists believe the James Webb Space Telescope, due to be online next year, could detect the atmosphere at Proxima Centauri.

A theoretical mission to send a probe on the planet in 2069 to look for biosignatures is also possible. 

‘The original signal found by Shane Smith is not obviously detected when the telescope is pointed away from Proxima Centauri – but given a haystack of millions of signals, the most likely explanation is still that it is a transmission from human technology that happens to be “weird” in just the right way to fool our filters.’ 

The radio wave signal was first detected by the Australia-based Parkes Telescope at a frequency 980 MHz in April and May 2019. 

Last year, members of the Breakthrough Listen Project – a $100 million initiative to find alien life through radio telescopes – ‘carefully investigated’ the mysterious signal that emanated from the star system.

The project, founded by Israeli billionaire Yuri Milner, looks for evidence of extraterrestrial ‘technosignatures’ – radio waves and other evidence of extraterrestrial technology. 

Milner started the initiative in 2015 to search for intentional or stray alien signals. It was intended to last a decade. 

Proxima Centauri, located 4.2 light years from Earth, has two confirmed planets. One is a Jupiter-like giant gas giant and the other is a rocky world called Proximab in its habitable zone.

The Parkes Telescope in Australia spotted the signal in early 2020. However, unlike previous radio bursts it was not attributed to any Earth-based, near-Earth, human-created source.

After a deep dive into the signal, the researchers discovered that it was likely not from Proxima Centauri.

Andrew Siemion, the science leader of Listen, stated that this candidate was “in the case”. He also said that Listen’s analysis suggests that it’s unlikely that it is from a transmitter at Proxima centauri. 

“However this is undoubtedly the most fascinating signal we’ve seen to-date.” 

While the news is disappointing, experts may find some hope in the findings. They will continue to tweak and search for signs that life.

Dr. S. Pete Worden, executive director at Breakthrough Initiatives, said that although he was unable to conclusively identify a genuine technosignature he is growing more confident that he has the tools to validate such signatures. 

The findings have been published in two papers in the scientific journal Nature Astronomy. 



Discovery of pulsars

British astronomer Jocelyn Bell Burnell, who spotted a radio-pulsar in 1967, was the first to discover one.

Since then, other types of pulsars which emit X-rays or gamma radiations have been identified.

Although pulsars can be described as highly magnetized, rotating neutron stars, it was initially believed that they may have come from extraterrestrials.

“Wow!” radio signal

1977: An astronomer who was looking for alien life in Ohio’s night sky spotted a radio signal that was so powerful that he wrote “Wow!” His data was also displayed.

In 1977, an astronomer looking for alien life in the night sky above Ohio spotted a radio signal so powerful that he excitedly wrote 'Wow!' next to his data

In 1977, an astronomer who was looking for alien life in Ohio’s night sky spotted a radio signal that was so strong that he wrote “Wow!” His data were next to him

The 72-second blast, spotted by Dr Jerry Ehman through a radio telescope, came from Sagittarius but matched no known celestial object.

Conspiracy theorists claim that the “Wow!” signal was a message from intelligent extraterrestrials. Conspiracy theorists have claimed that the ‘Wow!

Fossilised Martian microbes

In 1996, Nasa and White House announced that the rock contained traces martian bugs.

The meteorite, which was identified as Allen Hills (ALH), 84001, fell onto the frozen wastes Antarctica 13,000 Years ago. It was then recovered in 1984. 

Photographs showing the elongated segments of objects appeared lifelike and were released.

Photographs were released showing elongated segmented objects that appeared strikingly lifelike (pictured)

Photographs showing elongated segments of objects that looked lifelike were released (pictured).

The excitement didn’t last long. Other scientists also questioned the authenticity of the meteorite samples. 

They also suggested that heat from blasting the rock into space might have created mineral structures similar to microfossils. 

2005 Tabby’s Star Behavior 

The star, also known by KIC 8462852 is 1,400 light years from Earth and has puzzled astronomers since its discovery in 2015.

It dims faster than other stars which, according to some experts, could be a sign that aliens are harnessing star energy.

The star, otherwise known as KIC 8462852, is located 1,400 light years away and has baffled astonomers since being discovered in 2015 (artist's impression)

The star, also known as KIC8462852, is 1,400 light-years away. It has been a mystery to astonomers ever since it was discovered in 2015. (Artist’s impression).

Recent research has ‘eliminated’ the possibility of an alien megastructure, and instead suggests that a ring or dust could be causing these strange signals.

2017: Exoplanets from the Goldilocks area 

Astronomers announced that they had found a star-system with planets that could support human life, just 39 lightyears away, in February 2017.

Seven Earth-like Planets were discovered orbiting the nearby dwarf star Trappist-1. All of them could have water on their surface, which is a key component of life.

Scientists believe three of the planets are so well-suited for life that they may have been home to life in the past. 

Researchers claim they will be able to determine if there is life on any planets within a decade.