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That signal picked up by radio telescope Ratan-600 from the sun-like Constellation Hercules is probably terrestrial in origin – and most likely from a Soviet military satellite.

Scientists everywhere leapt at the possibility that we’d finally made contact with alien life, much like Carl Sagan’s science fiction novel Contact predicted.

Turns out, we were likely listening to ourselves, according to astronomer Yu. V. Sotnikova from the Special Astrophysical Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Sotnikova noted that “an interesting radio signal at the wavelength of 2.7 cm” was detected in the star system HD 164595 in Hercules back in 2015. Instead of making a connection with an alien civilization, we were probably picking up signals from a Soviet-era military satellite.

“Subsequent processing and analysis of the signal revealed its most probable terrestrial origin,” Sotnikova wrote in a statement Wednesday, bumming out professional astronomers and armchair sky-watchers alike.

The SAO RAS has been conducting a survey of astronomical objects in the framework of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, or SETI to those in the know.

The HD 164595 star system is about 94 light years from Earth.

Alexander Ipatov, the director of the Institute of Applied Astronomy at the Russian Academy of Sciences told the Russian news agency TASS that back in the Soviet era, he was part of a group of young astronomers searching for extraterrestrial civilizations and discovered an odd signal.

“We, indeed, discovered an unusual signal,” he told TASS. “However, an additional check showed that it was emanating from a Soviet military satellite, which had not been entered into any of the catalogs of celestial bodies.”

SETI senior astronomer Seth Shostak said Wednesday that his organization has been unable to find this signal using its Allen Telescope Array.

“That would be consistent, of course, with it being terrestrial interference, such as a military satellite,” Shostak wrote on the SETI website. “However, there seems to be some contradiction in the Russian response … as the signal was labeled as being measured in May 2015, long after the demise of the Soviet Union.”

As for the Ratan-600 survey, it may be too soon to tell what else may come from the research.

 “Using the obtained measurements, we are only able to estimate the upper limit of the detection of the studied areas,” Sotnikova said the statement. “It can be said with confidence that no sought-for signal has been detected yet.”

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