In a now-deleted report, researchers in China discovered “suspicious” signals picked up by the Sky Eye telescope, the world’s largest telescope.
The report, shared by Science and Technology Daily, the official newspaper of China’s Ministry of Science and Technology, revealed that a team of researchers led by chief scientist Zhang Tonjie captured narrow band electromagnetic signals through the Sky Eye telescope, located in Guizhou Province of southwestern China.
Although it is unclear as to why the report and other posts about the discovery were removed, Chinese social media platforms and official news outlets quickly circulated news of the discovery.
Sky Eye was officially commissioned in September 2020 for extraterrestrial research purposes and is the world’s largest telescope with a diameter of 500 meters (approximately 1,640 feet). The telescope plays a vital role in alien civilization research as it is extremely sensitive in the low-frequency radio band.
Zhang and his team are a part of an extraterrestrial civilization search team that was put together by several institutions including Beijing Normal University, the National Astronomical Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the University of California, Berkeley.
Zhang and his team had previously picked up signals in 2020 when the Sky Eye discovered two sets of suspicious signals through data gathered from exoplanet targets.
According to Zhang, however, the signals may not be related to extraterrestrial life and could be a form of radio interference. The strange signals will require further investigation, which Zhang described as being “a long process.” The team will also use the telescope to look into the signals again to determine whether additional information can be found.
“The possibility that the suspicious signal is some kind of radio interference is also very high, and it needs to be further confirmed and ruled out. This may be a long process.” Zhang told Science and Technology Daily.