Proxima Centauri is the nearest star system to the solar system, and it is located just 4.2 light-years away from the earth. Since its discovery in 1915 by Scottish astronomer Robert Innes, Proxima Centauri has perplexed space scientists, especially due to its low energy production rate.

And now, researchers who have been searching for life outside earth have detected unexplained radio signals coming from the direction of this star.

nasa, ESO, exoplanet, Proxima b,
This artist's impression shows a view of the surface of the planet Proxima b orbiting the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the solar system.ESO/M. Kornmesser

Mysterious signal from Proxima Centauri

Interestingly, Proxima Centauri has two planets orbiting around it, and one among them is supposed to be rocky like Earth. This mysterious signal was detected by researchers at Breakthrough Listen, widely considered the largest ever scientific research program aimed at finding evidence of civilizations beyond Earth.

Scientists have now named this signal, 'BLC-1', and it was picked up during observations made between April and May 2019.

"It's pretty expected that every now and then you'll see something weird, but this is interesting because it's something that's weird that we're having to think about the next steps," said Sofia Sheikh, a graduate student at Pennsylvania State University and a Breakthrough Listen team member.

Alien existence or natural origin?

As scientists have detected signals from the direction of Proxima Centauri, several people believe that these waves could be the result of alien activity. However, Sheikh believes that these signals most probably have a human origin.

According to researchers, these alleged alien waves seem very similar to the transmissions humans used to communicate. Researchers believe that BLC-1 could be beaming from an object that might be a plane travelling overhead, a transmitter on the ground near the telescope's line of sight, or perhaps a faulty electronic device in a nearby building. 

"Only human technology seems to produce signals like that. Our WiFi, our cell towers, our GPS, our satellite radio—all of this looks exactly like the signals that we're searching for, which makes it very hard to tell if something is from space or from human-generated technology," added Sheikh.