SETI & Technosignatures

A Radio Technosignature Search Towards Proxima Centauri Resulting In A Signal-of-interest

By Keith Cowing
November 16, 2021
Filed under
A Radio Technosignature Search Towards Proxima Centauri Resulting In A Signal-of-interest
The signal-of-interest, BLC1, from our search of Proxima Centauri. Here, we plot the dynamic spectrum around the signal-of-interest over an 8-pointing cadence of on-source and off-source observations. BLC1 passes our coincidence filters and persists for over 2 hours. The red dashed line, purposefully offset from the signal, shows the expected frequency based on the detected drift rate (0.038 Hz s−1 ) and start frequency in the first panel. BLC1 is analyzed in detail in a companion paper.

The detection of life beyond Earth is an ongoing scientific endeavour, with profound implications. One approach, known as the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI), seeks to find engineered signals (`technosignatures’) that indicate the existence technologically-capable life beyond Earth.

Here, we report on the detection of a narrowband signal-of-interest at ~982 MHz, recorded during observations toward Proxima Centauri with the Parkes Murriyang radio telescope. This signal, `BLC1′, has characteristics broadly consistent with hypothesized technosignatures and is one of the most compelling candidates to date. Analysis of BLC1 — which we ultimately attribute to being an unusual but locally-generated form of interference — is provided in a companion paper (Sheikh et al., 2021). Nevertheless, our observations of Proxima Centauri are the most sensitive search for radio technosignatures ever undertaken on a star target.

Shane Smith, Danny C Price, Sofia Z Sheikh, Daniel J Czech, Steve Croft, David DeBoer, Vishal Gajjar, Howard Isaacson, Brian C Lacki, Matt Lebofsky, David HE MacMahon, Cherry Ng, Karen I Perez, Andrew PV Siemion, Claire Isabel Webb, Jamie Drew, S Pete Worden, Andrew Zic

Comments: 14 pages, 4 figures (+3 supplementary figures). Published open-access in Nature Astronomy
Subjects: Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM); Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Popular Physics (physics.pop-ph)
Journal reference: Nature Astronomy, vol 5, pgs 1148-1152 (2021)
DOI: 10.1038/s41550-021-01479-w
Cite as: arXiv:2111.08007 [astro-ph.IM] (or arXiv:2111.08007v1 [astro-ph.IM] for this version)
Submission history
From: Danny Price
[v1] Mon, 15 Nov 2021 08:41:42 UTC (2,791 KB)
Astrobiology, SETI,

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻