Author Topic: Strange Signals from the Nearby Red Dwarf Star Ross 128  (Read 8357 times)

Offline Star One

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I am really keen to see how this is reported as no doubt the mainstream media & social media will get overexcited about this once they pick up on it.

The thing about the satellite explanation is though they might know where the civilian satellites are that's not necessarily going to be the case with all the classified satellites?

Though it would be nicely ironic on a wild flight of fantasy if it was aliens from a supposedly inhospitable red dwarf system, considering how difficult living with such a star seems to be for life.

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Two weeks after these observations, we realized that there were some very peculiar signals in the 10-minute dynamic spectrum that we obtained from Ross 128 (GJ 447), observed May 12 at 8:53 PM AST (2017/05/13 00:53:55 UTC). The signals consisted of broadband quasi-periodic non-polarized pulses with very strong dispersion-like features. We believe that the signals are not local radio frequency interferences (RFI) since they are unique to Ross 128 and observations of other stars immediately before and after did not show anything similar.

We do not know the origin of these signals but there are three main possible explanations: they could be (1) emissions from Ross 128 similar to Type II solar flares, (2) emissions from another object in the field of view of Ross 128, or just (3) burst from a high orbit satellite since low orbit satellites are quick to move out of the field of view. The signals are probably too dim for other radio telescopes in the world and FAST is currently under calibration.

Each of the possible explanations has their own problems. For example, Type II solar flares occur at much lower frequencies and the dispersion suggests a much farther source or a dense electron field (e.g. the stellar atmosphere?). Also, there are no many nearby objects in the field of view of Ross 128 and we have never seen satellites emit bursts like that, which were common in our other star observations. In case you are wondering, the recurrent aliens hypothesis is at the bottom of many other better explanations.

Therefore, we have a mystery here and the three main explanations are as good as any at this moment. Fortunately, we obtained more time to observe Ross 128 next Sunday, July 16, and we might clarify soon the nature of its radio emissions, but there are no guarantees. We will also observe Barnard’s star that day to collaborate with the Red Dots project. Results from our observations will be presented later that week. I have a Piña Colada ready to celebrate if the signals result to be astronomical in nature.

http://phl.upr.edu/library/notes/ross128
« Last Edit: 07/14/2017 10:11 AM by Star One »

Online Ben the Space Brit

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Re: Strange Signals from the Nearby Red Dwarf Star Ross 128
« Reply #1 on: 07/14/2017 01:09 PM »
Magnetic storms in the stellar corona synchronised to the movement of large scale objects (mega sunspots?) through the object's magnetic field as the star rotates? Does anyone know the solar activity cycle of Ross 128?
« Last Edit: 07/14/2017 01:10 PM by Ben the Space Brit »
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Offline Star One

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Re: Strange Signals from the Nearby Red Dwarf Star Ross 128
« Reply #2 on: 07/14/2017 01:54 PM »
Magnetic storms in the stellar corona synchronised to the movement of large scale objects (mega sunspots?) through the object's magnetic field as the star rotates? Does anyone know the solar activity cycle of Ross 128?

The article at least indicates this has been examined as a possibility but suggests there are issues with as an explanation?

Online notsorandom

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Re: Strange Signals from the Nearby Red Dwarf Star Ross 128
« Reply #3 on: 07/14/2017 02:02 PM »
Were I to guess I'd guess that it is a natural phenomenon. Because it is a non-polarized broad band signal and shows dispersion like features it doesn't seem consistent with one generated by an intelligence either terrestrial or not.

Offline Star One

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Re: Strange Signals from the Nearby Red Dwarf Star Ross 128
« Reply #4 on: 07/14/2017 03:10 PM »
Were I to guess I'd guess that it is a natural phenomenon. Because it is a non-polarized broad band signal and shows dispersion like features it doesn't seem consistent with one generated by an intelligence either terrestrial or not.

Could explain why that's indicative of a natural phenomena?

Online notsorandom

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Re: Strange Signals from the Nearby Red Dwarf Star Ross 128
« Reply #5 on: 07/14/2017 04:21 PM »
Were I to guess I'd guess that it is a natural phenomenon. Because it is a non-polarized broad band signal and shows dispersion like features it doesn't seem consistent with one generated by an intelligence either terrestrial or not.

Could explain why that's indicative of a natural phenomena?
Sure, an intelligent source would want to generate the most efficient signal the easiest way they could. For communications the narrowest bandwidth necessary to accommodate the required bit rate is the most efficient, using the least amount of transmitter power. For other uses such as RADAR or trying to get our attention a very narrow bandwidth is also the most efficient. It is also easiest to generate a polarized signal and its most efficient for the transmitting antenna and receiving antenna to be the same polarization. The TDRSs use left hand circular polarization for example.

The dispersion features, which I am assuming means that the lower frequency parts of the signal arrived a bit later then the higher frequency parts, wouldn't be seen over such a short interstellar distance from an artificial transmitter. A signal can show dispersion after traveling for very long distances due to interstellar matter. Natural signals can also be generated in a way that causes dispersion. Some of the radio signals Jupiter makes show this.

Offline Star One

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Re: Strange Signals from the Nearby Red Dwarf Star Ross 128
« Reply #6 on: 07/14/2017 04:24 PM »
Were I to guess I'd guess that it is a natural phenomenon. Because it is a non-polarized broad band signal and shows dispersion like features it doesn't seem consistent with one generated by an intelligence either terrestrial or not.

Could explain why that's indicative of a natural phenomena?
Sure, an intelligent source would want to generate the most efficient signal the easiest way they could. For communications the narrowest bandwidth necessary to accommodate the required bit rate is the most efficient, using the least amount of transmitter power. For other uses such as RADAR or trying to get our attention a very narrow bandwidth is also the most efficient. It is also easiest to generate a polarized signal and its most efficient for the transmitting antenna and receiving antenna to be the same polarization. The TDRSs use left hand circular polarization for example.

The dispersion features, which I am assuming means that the lower frequency parts of the signal arrived a bit later then the higher frequency parts, wouldn't be seen over such a short interstellar distance from an artificial transmitter. A signal can show dispersion after traveling for very long distances due to interstellar matter. Natural signals can also be generated in a way that causes dispersion. Some of the radio signals Jupiter makes show this.

Thank you for that explanation. Unfortunately such analysis will probably be missing if this picks up further coverage.

Offline Star One

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Re: Strange Signals from the Nearby Red Dwarf Star Ross 128
« Reply #7 on: 07/14/2017 10:23 PM »
There's more details on the planned follow up observations in this article.

http://uk.businessinsider.com/ross-128-red-dwarf-radio-signals-mystery-2017-7

Offline starsilk

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Re: Strange Signals from the Nearby Red Dwarf Star Ross 128
« Reply #8 on: 07/14/2017 11:12 PM »
Were I to guess I'd guess that it is a natural phenomenon. Because it is a non-polarized broad band signal and shows dispersion like features it doesn't seem consistent with one generated by an intelligence either terrestrial or not.

Could explain why that's indicative of a natural phenomena?
Sure, an intelligent source would want to generate the most efficient signal the easiest way they could. For communications the narrowest bandwidth necessary to accommodate the required bit rate is the most efficient, using the least amount of transmitter power. For other uses such as RADAR or trying to get our attention a very narrow bandwidth is also the most efficient. It is also easiest to generate a polarized signal and its most efficient for the transmitting antenna and receiving antenna to be the same polarization. The TDRSs use left hand circular polarization for example.

just to play Devil's advocate for a moment, if you were trying to broadcast a 'here we are' signal, you would probably want something a bit more... noticeable.  broad range of bandwidths, no special polarization etc etc.

not aiming for optimal bandwidth, just a beacon that anyone listening with a crystal radio might hear.

Online Dao Angkan

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Re: Strange Signals from the Nearby Red Dwarf Star Ross 128
« Reply #9 on: 07/15/2017 03:40 PM »
For a 'here we are' beacon, wouldn't a lighthouse type signal be more efficient? i.e. a narrow bandwidth signal sweeping across the whole sky at regular intervals. It might appear somewhat like a pulsar.
« Last Edit: 07/15/2017 03:44 PM by Dao Angkan »

Offline Star One

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Strange Signals from the Nearby Red Dwarf Star Ross 128
« Reply #10 on: 07/15/2017 09:20 PM »
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Eight telescopes from United States, Spain, Chile, and Puerto Rico are coordinating observations tomorrow of #Barnard's Star and #Ross128

https://mobile.twitter.com/ProfAbelMendez/status/886266726069014529

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Prof. Abel Méndez @ProfAbelMendez

The two big questions for tomorrow are: How active in radio is #Barnard's Star? What's the source of the radio signals from #Ross128?

https://mobile.twitter.com/ProfAbelMendez/status/886269837768568833

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Prof. Abel Méndez @ProfAbelMendez

Confirmed: Green Bank and SETI Institute's ATA will be together with us observing #Ross128 tomorrow.

https://mobile.twitter.com/ProfAbelMendez/status/886288344350588930
« Last Edit: 07/15/2017 09:23 PM by Star One »

Offline Star One

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Strange Signals from the Nearby Red Dwarf Star Ross 128
« Reply #11 on: 07/17/2017 07:57 AM »
Data taken from both stars. Results well we will all just have to wait.

https://mobile.twitter.com/ProfAbelMendez/status/886838000415625216
« Last Edit: 07/17/2017 07:57 AM by Star One »

Offline jebbo

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Re: Strange Signals from the Nearby Red Dwarf Star Ross 128
« Reply #12 on: 07/17/2017 10:29 AM »
The dispersion features, which I am assuming means that the lower frequency parts of the signal arrived a bit later then the higher frequency parts, wouldn't be seen over such a short interstellar distance from an artificial transmitter. A signal can show dispersion after traveling for very long distances due to interstellar matter. Natural signals can also be generated in a way that causes dispersion. Some of the radio signals Jupiter makes show this.

For a star at the distance of Ross 128, you'd expect, very roughly, a 10us lag between the 5GHz and 4GHz signals due to the ISM (assuming average interstellar electron density).

Apparently the lag is significantly more than this, which is consistent with either transmission through the stellar corona (i.e. a source at the stellar surface) or a much more distant source.  Hence the desire for more observations to resolve this ... [the betting has to be on something flare-like from the star].

Edit: interstellar dispersion affects all signals, whether natural or artificial (and is a problem for interstellar communication).

--- Tony
« Last Edit: 07/17/2017 10:38 AM by jebbo »

Online notsorandom

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Re: Strange Signals from the Nearby Red Dwarf Star Ross 128
« Reply #13 on: 07/17/2017 02:18 PM »
just to play Devil's advocate for a moment, if you were trying to broadcast a 'here we are' signal, you would probably want something a bit more... noticeable.  broad range of bandwidths, no special polarization etc etc.

not aiming for optimal bandwidth, just a beacon that anyone listening with a crystal radio might hear.
A narrow transmitting bandwidth is still your best bet. A narrow band signal is unmistakably artificial so there is no ambiguity about what created it. It also give the best signal to noise ratio is there is a greater chance of detecting it. The receiver doesn't have to be listening over a narrow bandwidth to detect such a signal. A receiver can also be built to simultaneously listen to many narrow band signals at once. SETI's SERENDIP receiver can listen to over 1 million narrow band channels.

For a 'here we are' beacon, wouldn't a lighthouse type signal be more efficient? i.e. a narrow bandwidth signal sweeping across the whole sky at regular intervals. It might appear somewhat like a pulsar.
A narrow bandwidth and narrow beam signal will give the highest signal to noise ratio for a given transmitter power. If you were trying to make a beacon though I think one could be even a bit more clever than that about maximizing your chances to be detected. They would know how much power you could transmit and how much gain the antenna could produce. They then could figure out from that how far away you signal could be detected with a reasonably sized antenna and reasonably sensitive detector. Rather than sweeping your beam across the sky you could specifically target all the stars in that area. Once the antenna was pointed at all the stars on the list then it would make sense to start at the beginning of the list again. So the signal may be periodic but not as quickly as a pulsar beam.

Online Ben the Space Brit

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Re: Strange Signals from the Nearby Red Dwarf Star Ross 128
« Reply #14 on: 07/17/2017 02:58 PM »
If I wanted to have a 'Hello, Here I Am' interstellar beacon, I'd try to mimic a maser at a frequency for a molecule that could not be present in a star of my system's primary's spectral type and that pulsed at a frequency that cannot be any kind of multiple or fraction of the star's natural rotation that could be caused by surface or coronal features.

Basically, make 'em look and, when they do, have the details of the signal that are not compatible with any non-sentient source (except with extreme magical thinking).
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Offline missinglink

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Re: Strange Signals from the Nearby Red Dwarf Star Ross 128
« Reply #15 on: 07/17/2017 05:05 PM »
Remember, a beacon is what drew the Nostromo to that accursed planet and we all know what happened to the crew afterward.

Offline starsilk

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Re: Strange Signals from the Nearby Red Dwarf Star Ross 128
« Reply #16 on: 07/17/2017 05:57 PM »
any beacon would need to be easily identifiable as 'intelligent', and that's not difficult to do - pulsing out prime numbers for example. 2, 3, 5, 7 is all you need. that would give pretty much any intelligent listener a 'wow' moment.

Offline Star One

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Re: Strange Signals from the Nearby Red Dwarf Star Ross 128
« Reply #17 on: 07/17/2017 07:11 PM »
Well it could be a navigation beacon for their own use rather than a hello we are here type of beacon, and as a result I'd thought that would impact its characteristics.

Offline Star One

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Strange Signals from the Nearby Red Dwarf Star Ross 128
« Reply #18 on: 07/18/2017 09:27 AM »
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setiquest.info shows the ATA observing Ross128, in the Virgo constellation, then Barnard's Star at 01:45UTC #ATASETI

https://mobile.twitter.com/jrseti/status/886671656743088128

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Observing #ROSS128 today from the ATA with @NAICobservatory and @GrnBnkTelescope, the pic is the visibility

https://mobile.twitter.com/jrseti/status/886666140788772865

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What's your opinion about the signals from Ross 128?

Link to poll on link below.

https://mobile.twitter.com/ProfAbelMendez/status/887007497776746497
« Last Edit: 07/18/2017 09:30 AM by Star One »

Offline hkultala

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Re: Strange Signals from the Nearby Red Dwarf Star Ross 128
« Reply #19 on: 07/18/2017 09:47 AM »
any beacon would need to be easily identifiable as 'intelligent', and that's not difficult to do - pulsing out prime numbers for example. 2, 3, 5, 7 is all you need. that would give pretty much any intelligent listener a 'wow' moment.

Radio waves are not numbers, you cannot send them directly.

You have to encode and modulate the numbers somehow when transmitting them.

And then the receiver has to be able to understand the modulation, demodulate it, and also understand the encoding to do the decoding.
« Last Edit: 07/18/2017 09:48 AM by hkultala »

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