Astronomers engaged in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) are training their instruments on a star around 94 light years from Earth after a very strong signal was detected by a Russian telescope.
An international team of researchers is now examining the radio signal and its star, HD 164595 -- described in a paper by Italian astronomer Claudio Maccone and others as a "strong candidate for SETI" -- in the hopes of determining its origin.
"The signal from HD 164595 is intriguing, because it comes from the vicinity of a sun-like star, and if it's artificial, its strength is great enough that it was clearly made by a civilization with capabilities beyond those of humankind," astronomer Douglas Vakoch, president of METI International, which searches for life beyond Earth, told CNN.
Whenever a strong signal is detected, "it's a good possibility for some nearby civilization to be detected," Maccone said.
But experts say it is highly unlikely to be a message from alien beings.
"Without corroboration from an independent observatory, a putative signal from extraterrestrials doesn't have a lot of credibility," Vakoch says.