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Astronomy researchers at Laval University studied signals from 2.5 million stars to look for periodic patterns, or what might look like regular pulsing signals.
They found 234 of them, and they have no clear explanation of what they are. One of the possible theories they mention in their published paper is extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI).
They think the pulses look like a signal an intelligent alien might choose to send if they were trying to make contact. Of course, the researchers aren’t concluding that this is what it is. They also looked for alternative explanations like naturally occurring spectral lines or rotating molecules, but none of these are good enough to say for sure that it isn’t aliens, either.
Interestingly, these signals tended to come from stars of similar size and characteristics as our own sun. We already know that a star like this can support intelligent life around it, as evidenced by us being here ourselves, so for the believers in the extraterrestrial life theory, this is good news. Humans have sent and are still sending many different signals to try to contact whatever other life might exist, so it makes sense that we should also listen in case someone is trying to reach us.
The researchers themselves are cautious and call for additional independent studies to confirm their findings. The Breakthrough Listen Initiative, which works on listening for potential messages from extraterrestrial intelligence, agrees. They’re quoted by Tech Insider saying “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”, an attitude that speaks well of their commitment to using reliable scientific methods and avoiding unfounded conspiracies.
They are however making plans to study some of these 234 stars further, to see if they can replicate the findings from the original study. It is still possible that this could be the signal that confirms someone is out there, trying to let us know they’re there.