This New Study Suggests Aliens Might Be Trying To Contact Earth, But There's A Catch
If you were one of those kids who spent far too much brainpower wondering if aliens exist (and hoping you would be the one to find them), you might want to sit down for this one. According to a study published in Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, researchers from Laval University in Québec, Canada, reportedly believe they've found evidence not only that might mean aliens exist, but that they could be trying to communicate with Earthlings from afar. Go ahead and pinch yourself if you want, but I can tell you now that this study is real life, even if it certainly sounds like something out of a dream.
In the paper, scientists used data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey to analyze the spectra of more than two million distant stars. Of those analyzed, a tiny subset of stars — 234, to be exact — were behaving in a way that the paper's authors, E.F. Borra and E. Trottier, struggle to explain. They consider and discard several possibilities, eventually concluding that the stars' strange modulations could be signals caused by "light pulses generated by Extraterrestrial Intelligence to makes us aware of their existence." In other words, aliens could be trying to get in touch with humans from millions of light years away.
So how did researchers arrive at this conclusion? The signals are light pulses separated by a constant interval of time, and the vast majority of the stars in question occupy the same spectrum as our sun. As UniverseToday explained, this could indicate the possibility of intelligent life: "Our own Sun is the only one we know of that has an intelligent species living near it. If ours does, maybe others do too?"
Before you start preparing for an alien invasion, there are some flaws worth noting. For one, researchers note that the signals could be caused by "highly peculiar chemical compositions" in the stars, or perhaps even the Sloan instrument itself. Borra and Trottier also write in the paper's abstract that the signals match up with a previous, published prediction for what alien communication would look like, but there's a catch: That prediction was made by Borra.
On the other hand, most scientists acknowledge that extraterrestrial life is at least a possibility. (Stephen Hawking's predictions are particularly dire.) Although Borra and Trottier's paper doesn't mean Star Trek is any closer to becoming reality, it's still worth further looking into. Breakthrough Listen, an organization dedicated to finding evidence of extraterrestrial life, writes in a statement, "The one in 10,000 objects with unusual spectra seen by Borra and Trottier are certainly worthy of additional study. However, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."
Above all, the paper is a reminder that in all likelihood, we aren't alone in the universe. Halloween just got a little spookier, don't you think?
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