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An Interesting SETI Candidate in Hercules

A candidate signal for SETI is a welcome sign that our efforts in that direction may one day pay off. An international team of researchers has announced the detection of “a strong signal in the direction of HD164595” in a document now being circulated through contact person Alexander Panov. The detection was made with the RATAN-600 radio telescope in Zelenchukskaya, in the Karachay–Cherkess Republic of Russia, not far from the border with Georgia in the Caucasus.

The signal was received on May 15, 2015, 18:01:15.65 (sidereal time), at a wavelength of 2.7 cm. The estimated amplitude of the signal is 750 mJy.

No one is claiming that this is the work of an extraterrestrial civilization, but it is certainly worth further study. Working out the strength of the signal, the researchers say that if it came from an isotropic beacon, it would be of a power possible only for a Kardashev Type II civilization. If it were a narrow beam signal focused on our Solar System, it would be of a power available to a Kardashev Type I civilization. The possibility of noise of one form or another cannot be ruled out, and researchers in Paris led by Jean Schneider are considering the possible microlensing of a background source by HD164595. But the signal is provocative enough that the RATAN-600 researchers are calling for permanent monitoring of this target.


Image: The RATAN-600 radio telescope in Zelenchukskaya. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Here I’m drawing on a presentation forwarded to me by Claudio Maccone, from which I learn that the team behind the detection was led by N.N. Bursov and included L.N. Filippova, V.V. Filippov, L.M. Gindilis, A.D. Panov, E.S. Starikov, J. Wilson, as well as Claudio Maccone himself, the latter a familiar figure on Centauri Dreams. The work is to be discussed at a meeting of the IAA SETI Permanent Committee, to be held during the 67th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Guadalajara, Mexico, on Tuesday, September 27th, 2016,

What we know of HD 164595 is that it is a star of 0.99 solar masses at a distance of roughly 95 light years in the constellation Hercules, and an estimated age of 6.3 billion years. Its metallicity is almost identical to that of the Sun. A known planet in this system, HD 164595 b, is 0.05 Jupiter mass with a period of 40 days, considered to be a warm Neptune on a circular orbit. There could, of course, be other planets still undetected in this system.


Image: Strong signal from the direction of HD 164595. “Raw” record of the signal together with expected shape of the signal for point-like source in the position of HD 164595. Credit: Bursov et al.

From the presentation:

The estimated probability ~2 X 10-4 to simulate the signal from the direction of the HD164595 by signal-like noise is small, therefore HD164595 is good candidate SETI. Permanent monitoring of this target is needed.

All of which makes excellent sense. We can’t claim the detection of an extraterrestrial civilization from this observation. What we can say is that the signal is interesting and merits further scrutiny.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Carlos Roque August 30, 2016, 7:31

    In essence the signal could be anything not discovered yet. The Physics and Mathematical models are not sufficient to explain the event. Arguing that it could be from Type II civilization is only speculation. The only logical conclusion is to follow the nature of all. A radio signal could be emitted by a celestial object or any astronomical event not yet discovered.
    Be open minded to what really is something not yet discovered. Stop believing in E.T. is a waste of time. Make your own destiny fellow humans.

  • ljk August 30, 2016, 8:55

    Hey there’s this guy named Paul Gilster interviewed on CNN this morning. Any relation?


  • Bart Viaene August 30, 2016, 9:09

    By 2050, Moore’s Law predicts that we will be able to copy our minds into a computer. To facilitate communication, it won’t take long for all of us to crawl into a single artificial brain, abandon our bodies and start exploring the universe, as things like long-duration hibernation and speed-of-light travel will become feasible. From then on, I suspect humanity will no longer be interested in detecting or sending extraterrestrial signals. And neither will civilizations having reached that turning point already… we simply will have evolved into something quite different. This discussion will become moot very soon…

    • Resonanz August 30, 2016, 9:59

      I share this pov. Virtual existence will, i feel, come sooner than 2050 – i expect first success by 2022. Also, with Alcubierre Drive concept, I expect FTL to be a reality by 2030-40 (probably already a DARPA achievement like advanced quantum computing).

    • Walker August 30, 2016, 11:05

      Mind is not an algorithm running on a PC ! Where do you see self awareness and sensations in a PC ?

  • ljk August 30, 2016, 9:35

    Embedded in the numerous links in this Universe Today article on HD164195…


    Is this one:


    Quoting the author, Eric Korpela:

    I was one of the many people who received the the email with the subject “Candidate SETI SIGNAL DETECTED by Russians from star HD 164595 by virtue of RATAN-600 radio telescope.” Since the email did come from known SETI researchers, I looked over the presentation. I was unimpressed. In one out of 39 scans that passed over star showed a signal at about 4.5 times the mean noise power with a profile somewhat like the beam profile. Of course SETI@home has seen millions of potential signals with similar characteristics, but it takes more than that to make a good candidate. Multiple detections are a minimum criterion.

    Because the receivers used were making broad band measurements, there’s really nothing about this “signal” that would distinguish it from a natural radio transient (stellar flare, active galactic nucleus, microlensing of a background source, etc.) There’s also nothing that could distinguish it from a satellite passing through the telescope field of view. All in all, it’s relatively uninteresting from a SETI standpoint.

    But, of course, it’s been announced to the media. Reporters won’t have the background to know it’s not interesting. Because the media has it, and since this business runs on media, everyone will look at it. ATA is looking at it. I assume Breakthrough will look at it. Someone will look at it with Arecibo, and we’ll be along for the ride. And I’ll check the SETI@home database around that position. And we’ll all find nothing. It’s not our first time at this rodeo, so we know how it works.

  • Walker August 30, 2016, 10:06

    I would be surprised that since 2015 no additional monitoring of this signal has been made by astronomers. If this signal is continuous, as it sems to be according other sources of informations, the probability that it is an intentional message send to potential listeners is greatly increased.

    This fact linked to the possible emergence of two radical new principles of thrust in space which open the way to a feasible travel to the closest stars in our Galaxy (EMDrive and Woodward Mach effect thruster) are may be the sign that a new era in human history is in front of us.

  • Resonanz August 30, 2016, 10:30

    I’ve posted before my opinion about ET communicating by RF – RF signaling seems a ‘primitive’ way for an ‘advanced’ civ to communicate. Use of RF (in our normal , i.e., detectable, frequency range) would seem either deliberate or indicative of where on the ‘Kardashev’ scale the originating civ might lie, i.e., in this case Kardashev type I. As for whether such a civ might be a threat to us, the answer seems unanswerable – if a Kardashev type I civ, like us, ET intentions could be anywhere on the scale of harmless or to potentially threatening to unpredictably and severely agressive (like us). However, I feel an advanced civilization has successfully transcended the great (and universal) filter of species’ self-destruction, like that facing us environmentally and conflict-wise, and is thus non-threatening.
    As for a profile of an advanced ET civ – first, virtual existence will be a given since, i feel, ‘going virtual’ is for us a gate we will go through by 2050 (via personal option..at first) – i expect first success by 2022. Also, with the Alcubierre Drive concept, I expect FTL to be a (public) reality by 2030-40 (probably already a DARPA achievement like advanced quantum computing).

    For these reasons, I feel we could be receiving a signal from a Kardashev I ET civ which we should be cautious about, or we could be ‘talked down’ to by a very advanced civ, though ‘they’ might not be more than a century or two older than us. A civ older than that need not, imho, be bothered with signaling as they could easily visit us across extreme ‘distance’ (distance as we know it being a meaningless metric when one has warp drive capability).

    • Monkey August 31, 2016, 1:35

      You’re wrong. This is the exact type of signal you’d use in an attempt to transmit to someone with an unknown reciever.

      Other methods (different frequencies) make more sense only if you’re attempting to disguise your communication attempts by making them appear as something caused by a natural event. The particular band this signal is home to makes a communication attempt unambiguous in nature.

      For some of the reasons you’ve stated above, if the signal is real, and note easily explained away, it’s probably a type 1 civilization. But in an attempt to sound smart, you’ve left yourself looking a bit bafoonish. A type 1 civilization isn’t a threat to us, by definition. Type 1 civilizations can build radio towers–type 2 civlizations build interstellar spaceships. This doesn’t mean that the hypothetical civilization that we’re discussing couldn’t he maintaining a legacy system–and it certainly doesn’t rule out the possibility that there are far better uses for RF than we’ve discovered– but the only way to know whether this is absolutely at least a type 2 civlization is to find out the power requirements.

      Your comment (especially since you’ve alluded to the fact that you’ve already made this point) on the primitive nature of RF betrays your lack of knowledge via the physics. For the sake of understanding, just replace RF with “Light” or “Laser” if it suits you. The method of transmitting and recieving is almost insignificant. The real measure of a civilizations degree of technological understanding is understood by reviewing the method of encoding information in the chosen medium. Even if you were, for some arbitrary reason, to believe that RF was primitive, it would still be useful if you were to assume that the goal is contacting the primitive contactee.

    • thisisdemo August 31, 2016, 23:36

      Its primitive on purpose. Our race won’t be contacted until emotionally ready

  • Kiko August 30, 2016, 10:37

    i would like to know what is exactly the signal which is come, what they say, do is translated/decrypted ? Thanks

    • Leandro August 30, 2016, 13:24

      it sounds like a whistle for two seconds

      • Kamilla Blæsbjerg August 31, 2016, 9:13

        Where can I hear it? Do you know?

    • BobPixel August 30, 2016, 13:39

      Clearly it’s instructions for building an FTL engine, and DARPA is already working on it.

      • David Benepe August 31, 2016, 1:45

        ET was brewing a cup of tea next to an open microphone.

  • tesh August 30, 2016, 11:05

    What if this signal, if (BIG IF) real, isn’t actually the aliens version/equivalent of Tesla or Marconi – “first burst” if you like?

    MAybe we are ahead by a century. It is highly unlikely but I guess everything is possible given the vastness of it all.

    • Michael August 30, 2016, 12:24

      The energy required to deliver this pulse even if from the nearest star would have blown them to bits…on the other hand there was only one pulse! Sigh, alas the mad professor is no more…

      • Googleplex August 31, 2016, 13:49

        Now that’s funny! Well, to us anyway…

    • Speider August 30, 2016, 13:22

      The signal is real, but that doesn’t mean it have to be artificial.

      The word signal doesn’t indicate origin. Ordinary stars give off signals.

  • tonyrocks August 30, 2016, 11:26

    This is nothing more than chance chaos pulses from a decomposing star. Nothing more. I’m tired of the the hype and hope of E.T. If it were anything, their understanding and acceptance of physics can not be the same assumptions and understandings, perceptions of Earth human physics.

    • ljk August 30, 2016, 14:50

      Who says the star is “decomposing”? It is 4.5 billion years old and almost identical to our Sun (Class G2V). That means HD 164595 is only about halfway through its life cycle, a bit younger than Sol in fact.

      I am amazed no one is commenting about the fact that the star also has at least one exoplanet circling it, albeit one that is 16 times more massive than Earth.

      More facts here:


      • sdc August 30, 2016, 20:32

        oh my goodness, i think the site was edited since you posted…….. last at August 30 21:20 – no mention of exoplanet

    • smitra August 30, 2016, 16:43

      HD164595 is a sun-like, 0.99 mass as compared with out sun and also nearly identical metallic composition. It’s older (6.3 billion years) while our sun is 4.5. The life expectancy of our sun is about 9.5 billion years and possibly this would be the same for HD164595 unless there’s something else going on there. If it’s dying naturally than its untimely imminent death must be due to some cosmic phenomenon which would been detected already. Clearly, that does not seem to be the answer so far as I can make out.

      • ljk August 31, 2016, 9:09

        No, HD 164595 is actually a bit younger than Sol – 4.5 billion years old compared to our star being 4.6 billion years old. As I said above that star is about halfway through its life cycle, just like our sun.

        Where did you get your data from?

  • Glenn Gunnels August 30, 2016, 11:39

    The signal was received on May 15th but when was it sent? A week earlier? A decade? A thousand years? Longer?

    • jay August 30, 2016, 11:58

      Article says “roughly 95 light years in the constellation Hercules”, which as far as I understand should answer this question…

    • Mike Gould August 30, 2016, 11:59

      95 years ago

    • dan August 30, 2016, 12:02

      ” at a distance of roughly 95 light years ” + received in May 2015
      >> roughly 96 years ago

    • beej August 30, 2016, 12:05

      from TFA:
      “it is a star […] at a distance of roughly 95 light years”, so about a century.

    • ljk August 30, 2016, 12:25

      If this signal were artificial and it came from HD 164595, a star which is 95 light years from Earth, then it must have been sent our way in 1921. Assuming they didn’t use quantum entanglement or wormholes or an ansible (let’s see who gets that last reference).

      • Mark Zambelli August 31, 2016, 12:06

        (Ansible…ha ha, brilliant. Better choice than my ‘Interrossiter’ anyways)

    • C M Walklin August 30, 2016, 12:41

      Well as it is 95 light years away, the signal originated in 1920

    • cresta August 30, 2016, 12:43

      “at a distance of roughly 95 light years “

    • testtech August 30, 2016, 12:47

      About 94 years ago.

    • Wintermute August 30, 2016, 12:53

      The signal is 95 years old, obviously. Electromagnetic radiation travels at light speed, this is basic physics.

    • Zoe August 30, 2016, 13:01

      Glenn, if the star is 95 light years away, then the signal couldn’t have been sent less than 95 years ago at the least. I think radio waves travel at the speed of light, so about 95 years ago is probably a good guess.

    • Zoo August 30, 2016, 13:58

      It was sent 96 years ago.

    • Stefan Hlustik August 30, 2016, 14:02

      “HD 164595 is a star of 0.99 solar masses at a distance of roughly 95 light years”

      when the radiowaves came from this systen, they travelled about 95 years, as
      radiowaves travel at the speed of light

    • Ferd berfel August 30, 2016, 14:14

      “The signal was received on May 15th but when was it sent? A week earlier? A decade? A thousand years?”
      Radio waves travel at the speed of light so I’m gonna guess 95 years ago. Makes sense to me.

      • raj August 31, 2016, 5:20

        lets say a highly civilized alien society observed something peculiar about our solar system, and started observing it 95+95 years ago , is it possible rite

    • JoJotheScienceApe August 30, 2016, 14:15

      Since it’s an electromagnetic signal traveling at the speed of light from 95 LIGHT YEARS away, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it was sent last Tuesday.

  • Resonanz August 30, 2016, 12:19

    Nice alternative ‘definition’ of life. I would go even further and propose (as I’ve done) that life should be in the broadest terms defined as ‘sentience’..which, as you refer to here, covers a lot of potential territory that we have yet to mentally explore . Thnx.

    • Monkey August 31, 2016, 1:41

      For our purposes, it doesn’t have to be sentient to tell us all we need to know. We already know that the move from non-sentience to sentience is a bridge that can be crossed with the snap of a evolutionary finger.

      The question is…can you even define sentience?

      • Xyzzy August 31, 2016, 16:27

        sentience is way over rated. I don’t believe we are yet sentient but we fool ourselves cause we are easily amused.

        A species that kills each other over land and food (and “God”) when there is plenty for all has no sentience.

        • Keith Henson September 1, 2016, 1:22

          We killed each other over land and food probably all the way back to the split with the chimps. Ten years ago I delved into the subject and sadly you have a point re sentience. Our genes built mechanisms into our brains that detect conditions that are similar to those that would trip off stone age wars between tribes. One of them is to respond to and spread xenophobic memes (“God”). Another is for us to become irrational and to follow irrational leaders. Why? Because long ago this worked (on average) to the advantages of our genes. If you want to know more about this depressing subject, https://www.academia.edu/777381/Evolutionary_psychology_memes_and_the_origin_of_war

  • Resonanz August 30, 2016, 12:26

    Relative to interstellar distances, Mars like ‘in the back yard’..i.e., not much protection there. But the idea of a camouflaged/mock transmitter site seems a required future rule.

    • ljk August 30, 2016, 14:36

      Where would we put it so that it would make us presumably save from hypothetical hostile aliens, while at the same time masking all the signals we have already sent from Earth over the past century?

      Even more importantly, who is going to fund, build, and transport this diversion transmitter when we cannot even get a manned expedition to Mars yet? And will it just be in radio? What about other realms of the electromagnetic spectrum?

  • Draga Komaim August 30, 2016, 12:53

    If the signal came approximately from ~100 light-years distance.
    Then it takes ~100 years to arrive to Earth with the speed of the light.
    When was the signal sent? Specifically, when we made the first radio broadcast in the Earth (1910’s). Is it possible this signal is a reply for our first trying of radio-broadcasts?

    • ljk August 30, 2016, 14:42

      If it takes 95 years for a radio signal (or light beam) to get from Earth to HD 164595, that means they just (somehow) picked up our very weak radio transmissions from circa 1921. So it is still going to take another 95 years for them to respond to us at light (and radio wave) speed, which is 186,000 miles per second. If they reply right now, we should expect their response in the year 2111 or so.

    • Tom Rutigliano August 30, 2016, 14:54

      No, since at that point they would have been hearing our radio transmissions from 1825.

      I suppose if they were doing systematic SETI, they could have seen some early signs of industrialization way back then?

      • Bruce August 30, 2016, 19:52

        I would suggest that rather than hearing any radio signals from us – which as you quite rightly say would have to have been sent by Earth in the 1820s to be picked up and then respond to in the 1920s for us to now hear today, perhaps any civilization recognised our star as a close match to theirs. Perhaps then discovered Jupiter and Saturn first, then as their technology improved discovered the terrestrial inner planets. Their technology improved further and observed the chemical composition of the atmospheres of Venus and Earth and discovered Earth may be a good candidate for life and a potential candidate to send a signal to. If it happened here, it can happen elsewhere. Potentially.

        • Tom Rutigliano August 31, 2016, 10:21

          Yes, I agree. If they were doing SETI at roughly our level, they’d have ID’d our system as having Jupiter, and at slightly beyond our tech level, would have found Earth as an oxygen atmosphere, liquid water, terrestrial planet.

          Short jump from that to them thinking we’re worth pinging.

          • Dick Modderkolk August 31, 2016, 14:28

            No, you guys are assuming to much. It would be an unbelievable coincidence if “they” would match our level of technology, give or take a few decades, instead of being a million/billion years ahead/behind. Much more realistic along those lines of thought is them noticing changes in the composition of our atmosphere due to the industrial revolution.

            • Laurence August 31, 2016, 16:03

              It would only be an unbelievable coincidence if life was incredibly rare, or the amount of time it has taken us to get to this technology level is very unusual. There are 500+ G type stars within 100 light years, and many thousands of M and other potentially habitable star system.
              For the sake of easy maths, let’s say there are 100 star systems with intelligent life within 100 light years, and that most of them reach a similar level of technology to us within a 10 million year window that stretches 5 million years into the past and 5 million years into the future. Let’s assume that we’re ‘interesting’ to a species within 1,000 technological years of us (we love neolithic tribes, so plausible). What’s the probability that within our local 100 light year-radius sphere that there are two civilizations within 1,000 years of each other? 40%
              [same maths that shows only need 23 people in a room for 50% chance that a piar of them share a birthday]

            • Tom Rutigliano September 1, 2016, 11:58

              Hi–I thought about the atmosphere change, but it looks like it would have hard to spot the CO2 change even from the ground until the end of the 19th/beginning of the 20th centuries–that’s not AFIK a technological issue, just a signal/noise one. Maybe they could be pulling out our CO2 trace around now (i.e., 1920), but honestly, measuring PPM from 95 light years is quite a trick.

              The tech issue is interesting. As far as I can see it, their actual level doesn’t matter too much:

              At roughly our level of technology and interest in SETI, they could know Earth probably supports life, but they’re only method of learning much more is to ping us. This could have been going on for a very long time (I don’t know the cadence of our radio observations of HD164595)–who knows, maybe their version of Arciebo has been pinging every exoplanet they can once a local year for a very long time.

              [Interesting factoid, if I did my math right, is the 30/3/3 rule: to detect a TV show from 30LY, you need a 3km radio antenna cooled to 3K. Anyone’s call if ET is interested enough in us to build giant space radio

              The next step is if they can do nano arcsec astronomy. If that was the case, they’d probably have been able to spot our civilization, and it’s reasonable that they’re intentionally signalling us.

              Beyond that, I don’t see any significant changes in how they’d present to us until they start sending objects or blinking naked eye signals.

              So, it seems like there’ s a potentially very long plateau period where ETs who choose to announce themselves will appear as EM signals.

            • Bruce September 1, 2016, 22:15

              Completely rational argument I wouldn’t refute. What I might suggest is that if “they” did exist may indeed be millennia ahead of us. They could recognise our primitive forms of communication or assume we would be primitive and decide to keep at a polite distance and just ping us. Perhaps the age of the galaxy/universe is only now capable of sustaining civilizations, and like a crop only just beginning to flower. (now=last few million years) Sounds like it was all just a false alarm again anyway so its’ a little academic. All good food for thought though.

    • Rod August 30, 2016, 14:57

      100 years to get there + 100 years to return back to earth = 200 yrs

    • Wintermute August 30, 2016, 15:10

      You do realize that a signal sent in 1910 would’ve taken 100 years to reach them too, right?

  • xwho August 30, 2016, 13:46

    If the signal was received May 15, 2015, why are we finding out about this more than 1 year later? Was this information withheld from us?

    • ljk August 30, 2016, 14:43

      Yes. By the Illuminati.

      • Illuminati August 31, 2016, 5:26

        So sorry. We did it out of old habit and routine. Won’t happen again. Promisse. Really. :)

    • Frog August 31, 2016, 4:01

      Probably withheld until no other obvious explanation could be found.

  • MJ August 30, 2016, 13:53

    It was sent 95 years ago. And physics is physics. It’s the same rules no matter where you go in the universe. They have to obey the same laws we do.

    • MATTYC3 August 31, 2016, 11:13

      oddly enough there is little-known research/evidence that light-speed could be variable, so… Assuming that IS the case, it’s entirely plausible that our first radio transmissions accelerated (faster than 95 years) towards a possible civilization that possibly picked them up and possibly recognized them as coming from possibly another civilization. haha.

  • Ted Viens August 30, 2016, 14:23

    It might be interesting that 2.7 cm wavelength equates to a frequency of 3,703,703,703.703704 a repetitive grouping of digits with a small count. This number is independent of the unit of time and the unit of length.

    • ljk August 30, 2016, 14:44

      You will just love this….


    • Wintermute August 30, 2016, 15:09

      It’s dependent on both SI and decimal. I’d say it’s more likely to be a coincidence than not.

      • Wintermute August 30, 2016, 15:20

        Wait, disregard the bit about SI, you’re right about that. Where are you getting 3,703,703,703 from though? c isn’t 10^8 man, it’s about thrice that.

    • Walker August 30, 2016, 15:33

      No the frequency is dependant on the unit of time ! What you propose is not science but numerology. By the way you should also know that any integer fraction has a repetitive decimal expansion ….

    • TSP August 30, 2016, 15:51

      All rational numbers repeat when expressed as a decimal. Also, the inverse of wavelength is not the frequency (although periods and frequencies are inverses of each other) . That is, the speed needs to be accounted for (wavelength times freq = speed), yielding a frequency of 1103424370.4 Hz. The numeric value is dependent on the units of both time and distance.

    • Neil247Wilson August 30, 2016, 16:01

      Or, if you round up to 300,000,000 m/s then f=11111111111.111111111etc
      Eleven “1’s” followed by 1 recurring.

  • Walker August 30, 2016, 14:31

    Could some one evaluate or compute the Radio-frequency power of the emitter of this signal if it is located at 95 light years from the Earth and leads to a measured received power of 750 mJyj on the Earth ?
    We could take the hypothesis that the radiated beam has an aperture covering a region of 1 light year around the Solar system.
    Is the required power in the range of the capacity of a full nuclear plant (~ 5000 MW) or should it be even greater ?

  • LeoPilgrim August 30, 2016, 16:06

    I know this sounds pretty much like science fiction – but an idea pop up in my mind and I have to share it here – if the signal was sent approx 100 years ago, it means that the sender in Hercules might be able to observe our planet – the Earth and decide to send the beacon on our direction? I mean, they can have a better technology than us to discover planets which they call “Hercules-like” like we search for “Earth-l;ike” planets – and they might have discover the spectrum of our planet so they decide to send a beacon in this direction..My question is, it is possible to precisely “aim” a target?

    • lincruste August 30, 2016, 19:22

      By the way “they” don’t necessarily HAVE to wait. Suppose we emit some kind of FTL particule or wave we don’t know about, like bats know jack about ultrasounds but still emit some.
      Maybe we’ve been sending our signature unknowingly for decades.
      Or “they” could have relays in the neighbourhood which detected radiowaves from Marconi and re-sent it towards HD164595 faster than light.
      If we admit more advanced ET can exists, we can’t assume for sure they are bound and tied by our knowledge of physics.
      By the way, I hope they can emulate the Neo Geo on psvita properly because mankind still can’t.

    • thouvenin August 31, 2016, 8:13

      Going your way, advanced civilization should have detected our impact on our planet since centuries looking for instance to our atmosphere composition then they should have started a special survey of electromagnetic waves emitted from Earth with sensitive detectors. Marconi is too recent for the go and return but Michael Faraday runs the first Electrical Motors around 1821. 1821 + 2*95= 2011
      Just in time !

  • Cheboksary Chuvashia August 30, 2016, 16:30
    • ljk August 31, 2016, 14:56

      Let us wait and see what is in that paper the Russian scientists will be presenting at the science conference in Mexico next month before we declare the event dead and buried.

      Maybe they just want to say they only found terrestrial noise and they are terribly sorry to have bothered everyone, but I have my doubts because such a mundane conclusion would have been resolved long before it would ever have been announced. Why tell such a thing to their professional colleagues at a prestigious event unless something more interesting was found?

  • Chuckiechan August 30, 2016, 16:31

    We shouldn’t assume they are advanced. They may be blasting from a low efficiency wide band crystal radio into a tube amplifier with no more information than tomorrow’s weather, and still looking for the technology to invent a transistor!

    • Joot August 31, 2016, 9:19

      Before that — we shouldn’t assume there is any “they.”

  • Grigory August 30, 2016, 16:56

    Alien signal detected by Russian astrophysicists turns out to be terrestrial disturbance


    • ljk August 31, 2016, 9:46

      The spokesperson is making a guess the same as others have. That the Tass news item links to an article from 2014 claiming a *second* exoplanet found by Russian scientists orbiting Alpha Centauri does not enhance my ambiguity about this supposed news item.

      I will wait to see what the actual scientists who found the signal have to say at that IAU meeting in Mexico next month. If it were only a terrestrial signal I am sure they would have said so by now and dropped the subject.

  • KieSeyHow August 30, 2016, 17:22

    I would take this with a healthy dose of skepticism, not because I am deluded to assume humans are the only life in a potentially infinate universe, but because I have doubts as to the competence and capability of anyone until they prove otherwise. Expect this to be more likely a prank, political propaganda, equipment error, or simple incompetence backed by assumption.

    • Joot August 31, 2016, 9:24

      What “incompetence”? The researchers themselves have made no claim that this is intelligent life. They only suggest it should be given attention.

  • ANDERSON KOVALSKI August 30, 2016, 19:34

    300.000/0,027=11.111.111 Hz = 11,GHz
    Interesting choice of frequency to communicate!
    Binary 1111 1111 = FF = 255

    But the more interesting question is, at what frequency should we respond?

    • Bill August 30, 2016, 23:09


      Very cool indeed.. if I were to communicate with an advanced extra-terrestrial civilisation, maths and chemistry are the obvious two languages (as without them, no race can become advanced.. and math and chemistry will be the same on this planet as any other planet)..

      However, 255 is also the threshold of an integer overflow..

    • NedoftheHill August 31, 2016, 0:09

      At Anderson Kovalski: A very low frequency…preferably zero. Why would we ever want to respond? Too risky.

    • Alex August 31, 2016, 9:43

      what I find interesting is why Hertz, or second, which is a human standard, is assumed to be known to whoever/whatever sent the signal

  • Jim Birch August 30, 2016, 20:37

    Frequency is based on a time unit. If the aliens used the same unit of time as us that would be even more astounding. :)

    • Georg August 31, 2016, 9:57

      Whether an Earth hour is “12 Betelgeuze Bumbo units” or “2 Tau Ceti Fuzzbabgs”, it doesn’t matter. The time period (or frequency) would be the same no matter the system its measured with. Say, we’d establish that the frequency of the hydrogen atom would make sense, it doesn’t matter how another civilization measures the frequency. Frequency itself stays the same.

      • Teemu Itkonen September 1, 2016, 5:42

        Worst of all would be if they used imperials

  • BinaryBen August 30, 2016, 20:59

    Message translates: “will you accept the charges?”

    • notarealemail September 1, 2016, 5:23

      DEEP SPACE: “Knock knock.”

      *96 years pass*

      EARTH: “Who’s there?”

  • Gundalf August 30, 2016, 21:26

    The fact that the signal would need 1 billion watt for its strength and the particualar course of the radiosignal is very interesting in my eyes. What if the “civ” of HD 164595 spent so much energy only to get us informed that there is something else out there in the dark. Its hilarious that such an significant signal comes directly from the direction of the most sunlike star.
    Nevertheless its a good reason to observe extrasolar planet systems :)

    • Alex August 31, 2016, 9:50

      The 1 GW signal lasted for a couple of seconds, so total energy was about 2 GJ. That’s below the energy output of any nuclear device, just half ton of conventional TNT would do it. In fact, what’s impressive is that they managed to isolate such a tiny event from cosmic noise…

  • Michael Bartling August 30, 2016, 22:21

    It seems to me that we are jumping the gun here in our speculation that this one time(?) signal originated from an ET source. Obviously we need confirmation from other SETI stations around the globe before engaging in such discussions. We of course we need to rule out background noise as responsible. This begs the question, why haven’t other SETI stations reported this signal? I’ll stay tuned, but I’m not holding my breath; well, maybe some.

    • Joot August 31, 2016, 9:32

      The signal was only there a few seconds. No one else had time to turn their dish to listen to this one particular spot, before the signal had come and gone. Now others are listening, but the signal has not come back.

      • Dave August 31, 2016, 21:52

        I also remember something being picked up by SETI in Arecibo in 1977 also, wondering if that was from the same general direction?

  • Michael Bartling August 30, 2016, 22:38

    I just read the story by Tass indicating that the signal was inadvertently created by the Russian military. I wish I had read this story first before I made my comment above. Thanks Grigory.

    • Doug Alder August 31, 2016, 12:16

      Not doubting it but do keep in mind that Tass is an organ of the Russian state and is not celebrated for its veracity :)

  • S.Sadasivan August 31, 2016, 0:10

    Is it possible to access the following document / presentation ? :

    SETI observations on the RATAN-600 telescope in 2015 and detection of a strong signal in the direction of HD 164595 BURSOV N., FILIPPOVA L., FILIPPOV V., GINDILIS L., MACCONE C. et al.

    • ljk August 31, 2016, 9:49

      I am not exactly sure what I found because it is in Russian but try this:


      • S.Sadasivan August 31, 2016, 23:02

        Thanks. Translation reads funny ! Anyway, damp squib ! Tass says signal is from Russian military satellite.

      • arussian September 1, 2016, 1:13

        I speak Russian. You found either someone’s creative fiction writing assignment about fish aliens or insane ramblings. Not a document or presentation.

        • ljk September 1, 2016, 9:44

          Oy, my apologies.

  • Monkey August 31, 2016, 1:51

    I hope you guys know that every single signal detected in this range previously by humanity was due to a communication of a military nature.

  • 1skander_by August 31, 2016, 3:51

    The interesting fact that none takes in account next (most probable) earth source (human maid) of this “strange” signal:
    1. Receivers bandwidth is very wide – 1GHz, if the middle of receiver’s bandwidth aproxymetly is 11GHz so signal exact frequency can be from 10.5GHz up to 11.5GHz . This frequency range is used for Divgital Video Broadcat service i.e. Satellite TV
    2. Today there is huge amount of satellites exist that constantly transmitting in this band.
    3. Let suppose that some RF beam bouncing from asteroid, bypassing satellite or rare athmospheric effect can cause this signal .

    I suppose it is more realistic explanation than any other. So Yes this signal was sent by Level I civilization – our own…

    • Alex August 31, 2016, 9:59

      Well, Level I civilization is supposed to be able to count its own satellites. According to the Russian rebuttal of the signal’s ET nature, it was indeed a satellite, ironically one of their own, that their military forgot to warn their scientists about )))

  • Ejette@msn.com August 31, 2016, 4:44

    How long have we been pumping man made frequencies out into space from radio and TV broadcasts? Roughly 100 yrs?

    Seti has been searching for awhile now. Has this solar system been observed prior, and is this a new signal that wasn’t there before?

    A little friendly tap on our terrestrial shoulder to say, “Received your message, you aren’t alone.” perhaps?

  • Susan August 31, 2016, 9:47

    I like the reasoning, a friendly tap on our terrestrial shoulder to say, “Received your message, you are not alone.”

    94 light years distance ….. 1920 to send = 2015-16 to receive approx. 94 years

    • ljk August 31, 2016, 13:36

      But then it would take another 95 years for their response to reach us. This means if they could pick up our radio signals from circa 1921 (doubtful, unless they have really advanced and powerful listening technology), which would have reached them in 2015 and replied right away, we would not receive their answer until around 2111.

      Barring some “magical” technology, radio signals move at the speed of light, which is 186,000 miles per second or six trillion miles each year. So it would take as long for their radio waves to reach Earth as it did for our signals to reach HD 164595.

      • Laurence August 31, 2016, 13:41

        No, they (assuming for a second it was eti) probably would have seen telltale signs of atmospheric pollution indicating fledgling industrialisation, and reasoned that we’d have radio receivers within 200 years. No ftl needed.

        • ljk August 31, 2016, 14:52

          This *assumes* that an alien (I repeat, alien) intelligence would somehow detect our early Nineteenth Century pollution and then jump to the conclusion that one day those creatures on Sol 3 will get smarter and build radio telescopes, therefore let’s send them a hello.

  • Manuel Sierra-Beltran August 31, 2016, 10:22

    Has anyone tried Fourier’s transformation in order to sort out its component waves?

  • Concerned Citizen August 31, 2016, 11:35

    Sorry everyone, but this is most likely a signal from a satellite orbiting earth. 11GHz is square in the middle of the ITU-regulated Ku band downlink for DBS (Direct Broadcast Satellite, like DirecTV), and there are very many Ku band communications satellites spanning the GEO belt. That band ranges from 10.2GHz to 12.75GHz. DBS is the primary means for many millions of people in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and West Asia to get their TV.

    These satellites are often placed in clusters at certain orbital slots to maximize the bandwidth available to users on the ground so that they don’t need to re-point dishes when they want to pick up another service. These clusters frequently cover the entire 2+GHz frequency range allocated to this service. Each satellite may have up to 16 transponders of 36MHz or even 54MHz each. Sample a bandwidth of around 1GHz across the Ku band near these clusters with the type of arrays used for wide-area search radio astronomy (i.e., that cover wide swaths of the sky, such as RATAN-600), and you will see a big, noisy hump of a signal which is actually many narrower-bandwidth signals clustered very close together. At a wide bandwidth and depending on sampling settings, this can look like one giant signal. If you’re a couple sidelobes away from where the cluster is transmitting, your SNR is just lower relative to the noise floor.

    Even if a satellite has no signals present on its transponders, if the transponders are powered on (they usually are, unless the satellite has been decommissioned), they will amplify the noise floor in the uplink spectrum (approximately 12-14GHz depending on where the uplink is coming from) and transpond that down in the 10-12GHz range. With the right kind of receiver and a spectrum analyzer, you can see this amplified transponder floor a few dB above the noise floor, and generally it looks pretty steady. Again, depending on how the sampling is being done, this can look like a big ol’ honkin’ signal coming from very far away.

    Additionally, there are a number of earth-observing satellites that use Ku-band radar altimeters for measuring sea surface height and weather. Fly-throughs are common.

    So by Occam’s Razor, based on the global ubiquity of satellites that downlink in the range of the signal received, and based on the type of antennas used to accomplish wide-field surveys for radio astronomy, the simplest and thus most likely answer is that this was a signal originating from one or more man-made satellites located in earth orbit.

    • ljk August 31, 2016, 13:30

      I would like to think that professional radio astronomers operating a machine like RATAN-600 would have already considered signals from satellites in space.

    • notarealemail September 1, 2016, 5:17

      NOPE! Aliens.

      I must assume the signal doesn’t match any know protocol.
      Also, they seem pretty sure it didn’t originate from local space…

  • RAS August 31, 2016, 11:35

    If SETI say this nothing as do the Russians, and they get lots of false positives like this, then why on earth are SETI wasting their time discussing this at IAC. It shouldn’t even be on the agenda surely?

    • ljk August 31, 2016, 13:27

      Because the situation may not be so cut and dry. The media act like a bunch of sheep, repeating whatever they find without thinking about it (or truly understanding it).

      There is probably something more to this event, even if that does not mean ETI. The Russian scientists may have found some unusual or even new natural cosmic phenomenon that they rightfully want to study further and keep under wraps until they can properly announce it at the science meeting next month. They have a paper but I have yet to find it online.

      Let us wait for them and the official organizations conducting SETI on HD 164595 to talk rather than jump at every regurgitation of the media.

      My view is that if this were simply a case of terrestrial interference they would not have bothered to publicize it at all. Does not necessarily mean aliens, please note, but it is likely not mundane either.

      • H. Floyd August 31, 2016, 17:56

        I agree. Paul and others closer to the story seem most interested in the microlensing explanation. That could be a hint that the Ratan-600 primary investigators have already reasonably ruled out satellites and other local confounds, at least at this stage. (Others here have commented on the reliability of the conclusory Tass milsat article.) So while I was initially cranky about the strange delay following the HD 164595 observation, I might as well reserve opinion until the PIs can explain why they didn’t observe customary SETI protocols, or avail themselves of the research support they would have immediately received as a result. They may have reason to believe that this observation is not any of the things we enjoy imagining it is.

  • Kunkmiester August 31, 2016, 11:53

    The argument of frequency measurement is partially false. We use 2.7cm to measure the wavelength because we use the metric system, but we use that particular frequency for utilitarian purposes–its a good frequency to make radars on as i understand it.

    Aliens making microwave ovens will still make them on the same frequency, becuase it’s the resonant frequency of water, regardless of how they measure that frequency.

  • LincolnG August 31, 2016, 11:56

    It was around the 1800s and particularly the 1820s that we really started uping the game in experiments with electricity. And although those experiments were largely performed with “static electricity” which only produce very small currents, however the related high voltages are more than capable of producing radio emission. Such electromagnetic emission obviously were very wideband, completely unfocused and void of any information – but were probably the first interstellar transmittable noise that our kind ever produced.

    • Laurence August 31, 2016, 13:44

      More likely they saw telltale signs of industrialisation from atmospheric pollution, and reasoned we’d have radio receivers within 200 years.

  • LincolnG August 31, 2016, 12:02

    This news if found to be genuine really could be the most exciting thing ever. Another civilisation on detecting our scratches and whistles of experimented noise could have replied back in kind. We should keep listening because maybe as our competence increased so did the intelligence of their replies.

  • Doug Alder August 31, 2016, 12:11

    I think the 95 LY is interesting. Would that put RF signals generated on Earth in 1921 or earlier in their range, or would those signals be too weak?

  • DJ Kaplan August 31, 2016, 14:11

    “SETI@home is temporarily shut down for maintenance. Please try again later.”

    • Michael August 31, 2016, 15:53

      The pulse of information was a virus…oh dear ;)

    • Michael September 2, 2016, 17:12

      I think all the nut jobs brought it down!

  • ljk August 31, 2016, 14:44


    The Fermi Paradox is Neither Fermis Nor a Paradox

    Robert H. Gray

    (Submitted on 2 Apr 2016)

    The so-called Fermi paradox claims that if technological life existed anywhere else, we would see evidence of its visits to Earth-and since we do not, such life does not exist, or some special explanation is needed. Enrico Fermi, however, never published anything on this topic.

    On the one occasion he is known to have mentioned it, he asked ‘where is everybody?’- apparently suggesting that we don’t see extraterrestrials on Earth because interstellar travel may not be feasible, but not suggesting that intelligent extraterrestrial life does not exist, or suggesting its absence is paradoxical.

    The claim ‘they are not here; therefore they do not exist’ was first published by Michael Hart, claiming that interstellar travel and colonization of the galaxy would be inevitable if intelligent extraterrestrial life existed, and taking its absence here as proof that it does not exist anywhere. The Fermi paradox appears to originate in Hart’s argument, not Fermi’s question.

    Clarifying the origin of these ideas is important, because the Fermi paradox is seen by some as an authoritative objection to searching for evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence-cited in the U. S. Congress as a reason for killing NASA’s SETI program on one occasion-but evidence indicates that it misrepresents Fermi’s views, misappropriates his authority, deprives the actual authors of credit, and is not a valid paradox.

    Keywords: Astrobiology, SETI, Fermi paradox, extraterrestrial life

    Subjects: Popular Physics (physics.pop-ph)

    Journal reference: Astrobiology, March 2015, 15(3):195-199

    DOI: 10.1089/ast.2014.1247

    Cite as: arXiv:1605.09187 [physics.pop-ph]
    (or arXiv:1605.09187v1 [physics.pop-ph] for this version)

    Submission history

    From: Robert Gray [view email]

    [v1] Sat, 2 Apr 2016 14:38:55 GMT (147kb)


  • ljk August 31, 2016, 14:49


    CCC and the Fermi paradox

    V. G. Gurzadyan, R. Penrose

    (Submitted on 2 Dec 2015 (v1), last revised 14 Dec 2015 (this version, v2))

    Within the scheme of conformal cyclic cosmology (CCC), information can be transmitted from aeon to aeon. Accordingly, the “Fermi paradox” and the SETI programme – of communication by remote civilizations – may be examined from a novel perspective: such information could, in principle, be encoded in the cosmic microwave background. The current empirical status of CCC is also discussed.

    Comments: 5 pages, 3 figs, Eur. Phys. J. Plus (accepted), final paragraph added

    Subjects: Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics (astro-ph.CO); General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology (gr-qc)

    Journal reference: European Physical J. Plus 131 (2016) 11

    Cite as: arXiv:1512.00554 [astro-ph.CO]
    (or arXiv:1512.00554v2 [astro-ph.CO] for this version)

    Submission history

    From: V. G. Gurzadyan [view email]

    [v1] Wed, 2 Dec 2015 03:15:15 GMT (1482kb,D)
    [v2] Mon, 14 Dec 2015 15:39:53 GMT (1482kb,D)


  • Justin August 31, 2016, 15:33

    Is there any way we can get a copy of the signal from HD164595?

  • Michael August 31, 2016, 16:05

    Chinese testing their new radio telescope to see if it can pick up a certain pulse? I just hope it was not an EMP weapon test!

    • ljk September 1, 2016, 9:45

      Did you ask them?

      • Michael September 2, 2016, 17:14

        I dare not! but it is good way to check everybody else’s receivers though ;)

  • ljk August 31, 2016, 16:30


    Kardashev’s Classification at 50+: A Fine Vehicle with Room for Improvement

    Milan M. Cirkovic

    (Submitted on 7 Jan 2016)

    We review the history and status of the famous classification of extraterrestrial civilizations given by the great Russian astrophysicist Nikolai Semenovich Kardashev, roughly half a century after it has been proposed. While Kardashev’s classification (or Kardashev’s scale) has often been seen as oversimplified, and multiple improvements, refinements, and alternatives to it have been suggested, it is still one of the major tools for serious theoretical investigation of SETI issues.

    During these 50+ years, several attempts at modifying or reforming the classification have been made; we review some of them here, together with presenting some of the scenarios which present difficulties to the standard version. Recent results in both theoretical and observational SETI studies, especially the G-hat infrared survey (2014-2015), have persuasively shown that the emphasis on detectability inherent in Kardashev’s classification obtains new significance and freshness.

    Several new movements and conceptual frameworks, such as the Dysonian SETI, tally extremely well with these developments. So, the apparent simplicity of the classification is highly deceptive: Kardashev’s work offers a wealth of still insufficiently studied methodological and epistemological ramifications and it remains, in both letter and spirit, perhaps the worthiest legacy of the SETI “founding fathers”.

    Comments: 15 pages, 2 figures, 2 tables

    Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); History and Philosophy of Physics (physics.hist-ph); Popular Physics (physics.pop-ph)

    Journal reference: Serbian Astronomical Journal, vol. 191, pp. 1-15 (2015)

    DOI: 10.2298/SAJ1591001C

    Cite as: arXiv:1601.05112 [astro-ph.EP]
    (or arXiv:1601.05112v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)

    Submission history

    From: Milan M. Cirkovic [view email]

    [v1] Thu, 7 Jan 2016 21:09:52 GMT (346kb)


  • Karl August 31, 2016, 16:35

    Has anyone asked the question:
    Even if a civilization is super advanced (ex. type 2-4) on the Kardashev scale (so that radio communication or our “modern” forms of communication are no longer used by them)- maybe they are broadcasting using radio when they intend to talk to “less developed” civilisations?
    Like when we talk to a small child, we don’t use adult language. We use a vocabulary they can understand. You don’t start by teaching kids calculus either, you start with addition and subtraction.

  • ljk August 31, 2016, 17:09

    These kinds of so-called news items are just an insult to anyone with more than a modicum of intelligence:


    And as usual the press accepts the statements from one source without digging deeper and calls it a day. So the HD 164595 signal could be from a terrestrial satellite, but doesn’t anyone think that the professional astronomers operating RATAN-600 would have already accounted for this and other factors long known to the SETI community – but apparently not the media?

    Let us see if they are paying attention next month when the Russian team announces what they did find at the IAU conference in Mexico. I am willing to bet that they would not go through all this just to stand up in front of their peers to declare it was merely terrestrial interference.

  • Fred Parker August 31, 2016, 18:38

    Quick question: How do they determine that the signal originated from a point in space approximately 95 light years away instead of an origination point either further away or closer? Do they use triangulation computations of signal strength vs. antenna pointing as the earth rotates? Thanks!