234 stars are emitting strange ‘strobe-like’ bursts

Sloan Digital Sky Survey have detected strange ‘strobe-like’ bursts coming from not one, but 234 stars. These light pulses “have exactly the shape of an Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence signal”.

Astronomers Ermanno Borra and Eric Trottier from Laval University in Canada are the ones who said it.

Borra had hypothesised back in 2012 that if an extraterrestrial civilisation wanted to contact us, it would make sense to beam laser pulses at us that look unnatural enough to warrant investigation.

The astronomer said the kind of energy required to blast such a signal towards Earth from elsewhere in the galaxy “is not crazy”, so he teamed up with Trottier to pore over the 2.5 million stars recorded by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey to see if any of them have produced such a signal.

And there’s our first warning signal – a good scientist knows not to approach data with a preferred result or preconceived notion in mind, because that can introduce bias, and the scientist could subconsciously (or otherwise) ignore information that goes against that.

The full paper can be read here.


“However, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. It is too early to unequivocally attribute these purported signals to the activities of extraterrestrial civilizations.”

“So let’s run through whatthey have actually found. The one in 10,000 objects with unusual spectra seen by Borra and Trottier are certainly worthy of additional study,” the SETI Research Centre announced in a statement last week.

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