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A thorough investigation has been planned by the Puerto Rican Arecibo Observatory after astronomers picked up ‘some very peculiar signals’ while briefly observing a red dwarf star referred to as Ross 128 or FI Virginis.
Ross 128 caught the attention of astronomers at the Arecibo Observatory back in May when it was observed to be emitting some unusual signals during a ten-minute observation session.
Bizarre pulses detected on red dwarf star eleven light years from Earth
The red dwarf which lies a mere 11 light years from the planet Earth and is located in the Virgo constellation was described as emitting “broadband quasi-periodic non-polarized pulses with very strong dispersion-like features, ” according to Abel Mendez, a planetary astrobiologist at the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo.
Mendez said that he did not believe that the signals were the result of any earthly interference as they were unique to the red dwarf. He said that observations of other stars immediately before and after these unusual pulses were detected did not pick up anything similarly unusual.
According to Mendez, the team is currently working on the assumption that the pulses are a naturally occurring phenomenon. He says that it is most likely that they are flare-type emissions from the star but it is also possible that they are emissions from another unidentified object in close proximity to the star. He has also floated the idea that the pulses could be caused by a radio burst from a satellite in high orbit.
In the past year, scientists have begun to suggest that unexplained pulses from stars could be deliberately generated by extra-terrestrial beings seeking to make contact with human beings in a non-intrusive way. However, Mendez claims that he does not find this solution to be applicable in this case. While he concedes that all of the possible theories surrounding the unusual pulses have their own set of problems, he believes that the alien hypothesis is perhaps the least likely of them all.
In order to try to get to the bottom of the mystery, there will be extensive observations of the star at the Arecibo Observatory on Sunday. However, Mendez has warned interested parties that ‘there are no guarantees’ that this project will provide definitive answers on this particular puzzle.