News that a Russian observatory detected an unexplained radio signal emanating from a distant sun-like star has SETI scientists springing into action.
The mysterious signal was apparently discovered by scientists at Russia's RATAN-600 radio telescope in May of 2015.
For reasons unexplained, the find was not made public until this past weekend, which SETI lead astronomer Seth Shostak found to be a rather curious decision.
In an email to the website GeekWire, Shostak noted that the ideal scenario, upon discovering such a signal, would be for another telescope to confirm the find.
Fortunately, now that other researchers are aware of the mysterious signal, that is just what they plan to do.
Both SETI's Allen Telescope Array as well as another alien-hunting observatory in Panama have already begun observing the star, known as HD 164595, beginning on Sunday evening.
While they are, of course, hopeful that the signal could be a sign of extraterrestrial life, Shostak was characteristically cautious about the possibility.
"The signal may be real, but I suspect it’s not ET," he told GeekWire.
SETI scientists say that the signal could have been created by an astral phenomenon known as microlensing, where a star's gravity warps radio signals, or even a technical error here on Earth.
Nonetheless, they have HD 164595 in their sights and hope to know more about the strange signal soon.
Should it turn out to have an extraterrestrial source, let's hope the discovery is revealed faster than the Russians' revelation about its initial detection.
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