Astronomers say they have detected “strange signals” coming from the direction of a small, dim star located about 11 light-years from Earth.
Just to get an idea, the distance of a light year- A light-year is the distance that light would travel (in a vacuum) in one Julian year.
The speed of light is defined as exactly as 299,792,458 meters per second. Hence a light-year is exactly 299792458×365.25×24×60×60 meters, = 9,460,730,472,580,800 meters
Researchers picked up the mysterious signals on May 12 using the Arecibo Observatory, a huge radio telescope built inside of a Puerto Rican sinkhole.
The radio signals appear to be coming from Ross 128, a red dwarf star that’s not yet known to have any planets and is about 2,800 times dimmer than the sun. Abel Méndez, an astrobiologist at the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo, said
The star was observed for 10 minutes, during which time the signal was picked up and “almost periodic”.Méndez said it’s extremely unlikely that intelligent extraterrestrial life is responsible, but noted the possibility can’t yet be ruled out.
Explanations for the ‘very peculiar’ signals
Méndez thinks in a July 12 blog post about the mystery of Ross 128, he wrote that “we have never seen satellites emit bursts like that” and called the signals “very peculiar”.
Another possible explanation is a stellar flare, or outburst of energy from the star’s surface. Such bursts from the sun travel at light-speed, emit powerful radio signals, and can disrupt satellites and communications on Earth, as well as endanger astronauts.