Scientists involved in a project in search of extraterrestrial life are now investigating a mysterious radio wave signal that appears to have come from Proxima Centauri, the nearest sun star.
the Guardian reported the finding on Friday, writing that the emission was picked up during 30 hours of observations by the Parkes telescope in Australia in April and May last year.
Scientists working on the Breakthrough Listen Project have investigated the show since it was detected, although the source remains unclear. However, the Guardian reported that scientists have found that a change in the frequency of the beam is consistent with the motion of a planet.
A person from the astronomy community who spoke on condition of anonymity because the work is in progress, told The Guardian that the beam that appears to have come from the direction of Proxima Centauri has not been spotted since the initial observation.
The source told the newspaper that the latest broadcast is “the first serious candidate from” Wow! Signal “, a radio signal taken over by the Big Ear Radio Observatory in Ohio in 1977.
Breakthrough Listen, launched in 2015 by Silicon Valley science and technology investor Yuri Milner, studies one million stars closest to Earth and “listens to messages from our nearest 100 galaxies” to find “evidence of civilizations beyond the Earth ”, according to project website.
At the 2015 project launch event at the Royal Society of London, the late physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking called the research “extremely important.”
“Humanity has a deep need to explore, to learn, to know,” said Hawking, who died in 2018 after a decades-long battle with ALS. “We happen to be sociable creatures. It is important for us to know if we are alone in the dark. “
It is known that Proxima Centauri, located 4.2 light-years from Earth, has at least two planets orbiting it. According to The Guardian, one is believed to be a gas giant, while the other is a rocky planet about 17% larger than Earth, known as “Proxima b”.
The planet is in the “habitable zone” of Proxima Centauri, which means that the temperature would allow water to flow, leading to speculation about the existence of life on the planet.
However, published a report in The Astrophysical Journal last week by a team of Australian researchers indicated that the surrounding planets Proxima Centauri are likely exposed to dangerous radiation stellar missiles and plasma ejections.
“The Earth has a very strong planetary magnetic field that protects us from these intense explosions of solar plasma. But given that Proxima Centauri is a small red star, it means that this habitable area is very close to the star; much closer “Mercury is for our Sun,” said lead author Andrew Zic, who undertook the research while at the University of Sydney in a press release.
“Our research shows that this makes planets very vulnerable to dangerous ionizing radiation that could effectively sterilize the planets,” he added.