Ross 128, a nearby red dwarf star, seems to be emitting some “very peculiar signals” that have scientists confused as to their source. These strange radio signals are not the only mysterious flashes scientists cannot fully explain, but nonetheless, researchers did offer a potential explanation.
The strange signals were picked up by the Arecibo radio telescope located in Puerto Rico. This determined that they most probably originate from Ross 128. A red dwarf star, this is situated in Earth’s vicinity, being separated by just 11 light-years.
The Nearby Red Dwarf Star Catapulted to the Spotlight
These ‘peculiar’ signals “consisted of broadband quasi-periodic nonpolarized pulses with very strong dispersion-like features,” states Abel Mendez, the Director of the University of Puerto Rico Planetary Habitability Laboratory.
Mendez then continued by stating that he and his colleagues do not believe them to be radio frequency interferences (RFI). The signals appear to be particular to Ross 128, according to subsequent observations. Researchers monitored other stars as well, both before and after the emissions, and found nothing similar.
According to Mendez, there are currently three leading explanations for these peculiar signals. One of them states that they could be solar flare-like emissions coming from the nearby red dwarf star.
Another is that they could not even originate from Ross 128. Namely, they could be from some other space object that is nonetheless in its vicinity or at least the same field of view. They could also come, according to a third theory, from a ‘sort of satellite’ orbiting somewhere high above Earth.
Still, Mendez underlines that although each theory has its points, they also have their flaws and issues. He considers that more data is still needed, so together with his colleagues, he is monitoring the red dwarf.
New information on it was captured just earlier this week, on July 16. This also came with more data on Barnard’s Star, another red dwarf situated even closer to earth, just 6 light-years away.
— Prof. Abel Méndez (@ProfAbelMendez) July 17, 2017
Other researchers, for example from the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), have also joined and are monitoring the red dwarf.
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