10 most famous stories of erroneous discovery of extraterrestrial civilizations

Are we alone in the universe? It seems that the question of whether a person will once make contact with some intelligent extraterrestrial civilizations arose long before the first system besides the Solar was discovered, as well as the first exoplanet. Telescopes of international research projects SETI and amateur astronomers for many years sent to the very depths of space and trying to find signals that could be the messages of alien civilizations. The desire to find evidence of the existence of intelligent extraterrestrial life is so deeply entrenched in the subcortex of our brain that it often became the cause of erroneous conclusions and notions about previously unknown phenomena seen.

The story contains many examples of howeven the most prominent scientists mistakenly took the received signals from space for the message of aliens, but in the end they came to understand that they were witnesses of completely different phenomena, starting from the radiation of pulsars and ending, you will not believe, with signals from a malfunctioning microwave. For the sake of justice, it is worth noting that some of the received electromagnetic signals still do not have a proper scientific explanation. Today we will talk about a dozen cases, events and phenomena that were mistaken for evidence of the existence of extraterrestrial life, or still have no official justification.

Martian Channels

One of the biggest astronomicaldelusions of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the story of the existence of water channels on the surface of Mars. Some astronomers have argued that the only explanation for the presence of these channels is that they were created by some intelligent beings for irrigation. American astronomer Percival Lowell even wrote three books on this subject, in which he described his thoughts and praised the "very intellectual approach" to the question of their creation. It is clear that the press quickly picked up such statements and widely spread them in the mass consciousness.

Disputes on the existence of channels on Marscontinued until the beginning of the 20th century, until more advanced technologies appeared, which allowed to prove that the very idea of ​​the presence of irrigation channels on Mars is nothing more than a delusion. It turned out that the channels are a common optical illusion due to the low resolution of telescopes of the time, fueled by the constant desire of the human brain to unite points not connected in a line.

HD 164595 signal

Star HD 164595 in the constellation Hercules, verysimilar to our Sun and located about 95 light-years, hit the news headlines in 2016 after it became known that in 2015, scientists had registered a strong short radio signal from its direction. In August 2016, it was suggested that the signal could have been sent by an alien civilization. Earlier, it was found that there is one exoplanet next to the star, but scientists already tended to believe that the distant world is not capable of supporting life. On this wave, a hypothesis arose that there may be other planets near HD 164595 that have not yet been discovered.

The received signal lasted only two seconds and wasdefined only once. That is why it was a rather difficult task to establish its exact source. Participants in the extraterrestrial civilization search program (SETI) conducted their investigation in an attempt to establish the possible artificial nature of the source. In the conclusions of the study it was assumed that the radio signal caused by some object of terrestrial origin was the probable source of the signal. To this conclusion, the fact that the signal was observed only once and only with a single telescope came across. Scientists could not establish the true source, but most likely it was one of the near-Earth satellites.

Kenneth Arnold

The world is full of eyewitness stories of UFOs, howeverThe story of the aviator and businessman Kenneth Arnold became one of the most famous cases that drew public attention to the existence of unidentified flying objects. In 1947, Arnold claimed to witness nine UFOs over the Cascade Mountains (Washington, USA). According to his words, the objects had a disk shape and “flew like a saucer flying on water”. As a result, the press quickly put into circulation the name "flying saucer" ("flying saucer").

The incident led to the immense popularity of the UFO phenomenon in the United States: over the next two months, almost 850 people from all over the country declared that they saw flying saucers in the sky.

Skeptics, including the United States Air Force, insisted thatArnold saw an ordinary mirage. Other assumptions were also made: new missiles, new aircraft, the reflection of sunlight from snow or dust. Many people, including Arnold himself, were dissatisfied with such explanations and continued to argue that we are talking about alien spacecraft. Later, Arnold declared that he had seen several more “flying saucers” and even wrote a book about his experience of observations, later becoming a real legend among ufologists.


For many years the Australian radio telescopeParkes Observatory was catching strange powerful radio signals that no one could explain. These signals were called peritones in honor of the fictional creature Periton - the character of the “Book of fictional creatures” Jorge Luis Borges.

The frequency of these signals and their "habit" to appearfrom star clusters, they reminded the behavior of another little-studied phenomenon — fast radio bursts (FRB), discovered many years later. After astronomers first discovered these signals, they began to talk about their possible artificial nature. The same rumors originally went about peritones. A little later, scientists came to the conclusion that peritons form somewhere near the Earth, which immediately destroyed the myth of their alien nature, but scientists could not determine the exact source of these signals for many years.

As a result, the mystery was fully disclosed in 2015year when astronomers once again used the Parkes telescope in Australia and discovered the reason for the appearance of these signals. As it turned out, the whole thing is ... radiation of a conventional microwave oven, which was used by the staff of the observatory to heat food. Each time the microwave door opened ahead of time, a radio pulse, like FRB, burst from it. This case showed that even the greatest riddles have the most ordinary explanations.

FRB signals sent by alien spaceships

According to one of the assumptions explainingThe nature of very powerful, but short-term emissions of radio emission, known as fast radio bursts (FRB), of course, were aliens sending us messages. However, in 2017 one group of scientists went even further, speaking with a different theory. Avi Loeb and Manaswi Lingam from Harvard University hypothesized that radio signals of unknown nature may be a by-product of the work of high-tech alien spaceships jumping into hyperspace. And the radio bursts themselves are like the exhaust of a car starting from the spot.

Scientists have even created mathematical models,explaining their idea, but more recently another group of researchers discovered repeated FRB signals that seem to come from the same place (although the exact source has not yet been determined), which in itself has seriously undermined the alien hypothesis. Among the more plausible explanations of these fast radio bursts are neutron stars and black holes.

Crop Circles

Circles or field patterns - geoglyphs in the formrings, circles and other shapes, formed in the fields with laid plants. Over the past four decades, several thousand of these formations have been discovered. Since the bulk of the reports of these figures indicated that they appear mainly at night, the phenomenon quickly became mysterious and, of course, various hypotheses explaining their causal appearance. Of course, among these hypotheses were aliens.

Scientists have never supported the hypothesis thatthat drawings in the margins are the work of aliens, but it was she who aroused great public interest, since the phenomenon was rather actively discussed in all sorts of media. In fact, all these drawings were created by man. Some are art objects, others have been created as a hoax to confuse people. Even in spite of the fact that it has already been repeatedly refuted, the hypothesis about newcomers drawing on the fields still lives in the minds of many people.

Aliens megastructure near Tabby star

Space Observatory "Kepler", completedtheir work last year, was looking for earth-like exoplanets. In 2015, a group of amateur astronomers analyzed the data collected by Kepler, when one very unusual star caught their attention. It turned out that the object KIC 8462852 (later called the "star Tabbi") has a very unusual level of change in luminosity. Usually due to the passage of a planet in front of a star, its light dims slightly for a short time, which is repeated at regular intervals. However, the star KIC 8462852 was an exception: its luminosity dropped by up to 22 percent, and such drops were observed for various periods of time (from 5 to 80 days), which led to the appearance of a large number of hypotheses.

You probably already guessed that in one of thesehypotheses talked about aliens. More specifically, it was about a certain highly developed alien civilization around the star creating an astro-engineering structure such as a Dyson sphere or a light collector. Since the building is not completed, it can be a hemisphere, which from time to time closes the star, reducing its brightness for us.

Star Tabby has become an object of very largeinterest from SETI (a program to search for extraterrestrial civilizations), but the results of their latest study suggest that the reduction in star brightness is most likely caused by a very large cloud of dust, and not by a hemisphere supposedly created by some kind of intelligent supercivilization or natural by.


The Roswell incident is probably the mostfamous in the history of "fairy tale about UFOs." The US military and politicians have had to comment on what happened many times and refute people's speculations even a few decades after the event.

In the summer of 1947, near the ranch in New Mexico fellsecret weather probe US Air Force. The local farmer, William Brazel, discovered his wreckage. Since Breyzel had previously heard stories about “flying saucers,” he decided to tell his find to the local sheriff, informing him that he might have found one of them. The sheriff contacted a nearby military base. Trying to avoid rumors, the military made an official statement. The event attracted a lot of attention until the official position of the US Air Force was announced, which stated that the detected object was of earthly origin.

Initially the incident was quickly forgotten evenufologists and remained unknown for 30 years. But in the late '70s, an interest arose around him again when ufologists interviewed the alleged witness of those events and were able to familiarize themselves with secret documents. According to the new story, the fallen object was a spacecraft, whose crew died as a result of the accident. The bodies were allegedly transported to a secret military base, an autopsy was performed, and the US government imposed a complete secrecy on this case.

Sounds unbelievable, but in 2013in the USA, one-fifth of respondents said that they still believe that the events in Rosewell in 1947 were somehow related to the collapse of UFOs and aliens.

Signal "little green men"

In 1967, researcher Jocelyn Bell and herHead Anthony Hewish of the Mallard Radio Astronomy Observatory (UK) discovered a very curious radio signal. It was so consistent and fast that it seemed artificial, but at the same time, clearly unearthly. Bell and Hewish called it the LGM-1 (from "Little Green Men" or "little green men").

The version that the signal was received from anothercivilization was not the main, but scientists had to take into account this option, as well as think about what to tell people if this assumption is really confirmed. When the researchers received the second similar signal, the version of aliens immediately disappeared, because the likelihood that two alien civilizations decided to talk with us at once seemed to them extremely unlikely.

It turned out later that Jocelyn Bell and herfor the first time in history, the leader Anthony Hewish discovered a radio pulsar - a rapidly rotating neutron star with a very powerful magnetic field, emitting radio pulses. At regular intervals, these impulses are thrown towards the Earth, which makes them at first glance look like an artificial transmission of radio messages. Despite the fact that the scientists did not find the aliens, the discovery of radio pulsars turned out to be very useful for astronomers.

Wow! Signal

In 1977, the astronomer of the SETI program Jerry Eymanconducted an analysis of data obtained during the previous day's observations using the Big Ear radio telescope at Ohio State University. The scientist drew attention to the fact that the data of the telescope contains information about the 72-second rather powerful signal. What surprised the astronomer most was the signal features.
Its characteristics (transmission band, ratiosignal / noise) corresponded, in some interpretations, theoretically expected from a signal of extraterrestrial origin. Amazed by this fact, Eyman circled the corresponding group of characters on the printout and signed “Wow!” (“Wow!”) On the side. This signature gave the name of the signal.

The following month, Ayman tried againregister the signal using the "Big Ear", but to no avail. Further attempts to detect the same signal were undertaken by other scientists. But all of them were also unsuccessful. Scientists still were able to determine the approximate location of the signal source (somewhere in the constellation Sagittarius), but it was not possible to determine its exact nature, which still does not exclude the possibility of its artificial origin.

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