The claim of two scientists that they may have found evidence of intelligent aliens is raising some astronomers' eyebrows.
Appearing in the journal Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, the pair's study reports that 234 stars (out of over two million surveyed) have signals in the form of light pulses they say are best explained by intelligent ETs from far away.
After discussing a couple of explanations for what could be causing the signals, the study states: “Finally, we consider the possibility, predicted in a previous published paper, that the signals are caused by light pulses generated by [extraterrestrial intelligence] to makes us aware of their existence.” What’s more, these signals “have exactly the shape” that the scientists would expect to see from intelligent aliens, according to the study.
But the Berkeley SETI Research Center says not so fast.
“...[E]xtraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence,” the organization wrote in a statement. “It is too early to unequivocally attribute these purported signals to the activities of extraterrestrial civilizations.”
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The organization said that they will observe some of the stars in question using a nearly 8-foot optical telescope called the Automated Planet Finder, and that they “look forward to consulting” with the scientists behind the controversial claim, which they said doesn’t yet seem persuasive.
Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at the SETI Institute, told Astronomy magazine that he was “quite skeptical” of the hypothesis.
“Apparently several — more than three or four — referees have been disinclined to see this published,” he said in an email to Astronomy.
The controversy comes on the heels of new data about a strange star that's been dimming in recent years, leading some to speculate about an "alien megastructure."