Astrophysicist Ragbir Bhathal works with SETI to scan the skies for possible communications from extraterrestrial intelligences. Unlike most SETI facilities, which look for radio signals, Bhathal's looks for laser pulses. And now he's found one.
Several years ago Bhathal, a researcher at the University of Western Sydney, suggested that a likely form of extraterrestrial communication would be laser bursts. He set up a facility at his lab which sweeps a nearby volume of space, within about 100 light years, for laser bursts that come in a regular pattern. Any kind of communication would likely be distinguished from background noise by coming in repeated or non-random patterns.
And a few months ago, Bhathal found the kind of regular pattern he's been looking for. He's been analyzing it and seeking a repeat pattern in the same area of space ever since. Though he's cautious about claiming it as a genuine extraterrestrial signal, his discovery has been making local news. Read all about it in The Australian.
Image copyright Lynette Cook.