Beijing (China) Chinese radio astronomers began searching for signals from extraterrestrials in late 2020 using the world’s largest radio telescope, the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST). According to a publication in the official magazine of the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, researchers from the China ET Civilization Research Group led by cosmologist and SETI pioneer Prof. TongJie Zhang from Beijing Normal University have discovered signals that point to an intelligent extraterrestrial civilization.
According to the state news portal, these are unusual narrowband signals that were recorded with the telescope in 2019 but have only now been evaluated. Now the astronomers want to look again and again for signals from the original source and at the same time rule out earthly explanations.
It is not yet known from which direction exactly the signals that have now been evaluated originate. Zhang’s favorite targets include the planetary system around 16 Cygni B, a star 69 light-years from Earth.
Right from the start of the search for extraterrestrial signals in November 2019, TongJie Zhang was convinced that FAST is the ideal instrument for SETI and that the giant telescope will probably be used to pick up the first clear alien signal: “In the West, with SETI, you have much longer experience, but we have the most powerful tool at the moment. Our telescope can detect things that other telescopes cannot see,” explains the scientist.
In fact, FAST is about 2.5 times more powerful than the best western radio telescopes and could pick up signals from deep space that have so far been overlooked and unheard.
Astronomer Peng Bo of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, China’s National Astronomical Observatory and director of the FAST Key Laboratory also thinks it’s possible that extraterrestrial technology triggered the signal, according to the report. However, he points out that this scenario has not yet been adequately verified.