Strange Signals from 234 Stars

In 2016 Ermanno Borra and Eric Trottier, astronomers from the Laval University in Canada, announced that they had found 234 extra-terrestrial civilizations and that they might be “beaming” a coordinated light signal towards earth.  Regardless of your thoughts on the topic, these are bold claims by the two, which is exactly why I like it.

The two claim to have found 234 stars that are beaming stroke-like bursts of light towards earth in what seems like a coordinated series.  The light signals are coming in 1.65 picosecond pulses from the 234 stars.  What is unclear, at least initially, is if the signals are coming from the stars themselves or from a planet traversing in the system.  Additionally, the two both state that they are very early in their research and that this could turn out to be a naturally occurring anomaly.

Ermanno Borra stated in a quote that they “have to follow a scientific approach, not an emotional one, but intuitively, my emotion speaks now, I strongly suspect that it’s an ETI signal.”  Borra does admit that rotational transitions in molecules or rapid pulsations in the atmosphere of the stars themselves could explain the light pulses.

What is odd about this finding though is the two have scanned over 2.5 million stars, and only 234 of them seem to be pulsating in this fashion.  That means that only 0.00009% of stars exhibit this pulsation, which roughly correlates with the drake equation.  For those who are unfamiliar with the Drake equation, it is an equation that was created by Frank Drake in an attempt to determine the estimated number of extraterrestrial civilizations that may exist in our galaxy alone.

The equation takes into account the average rate of star formation, the fraction of formed stars that have planets, the number of those planets that can support life as we know it, the fraction of those that actually developed life, the fraction of those that support intelligent life, the fraction of those that developed communications and release detectable signals into space, and the length of time those civilizations may live.  The Drake equation warrants an article of its own, but is worth explaining due to the correlation in numbers.

Using mostly agreed upon numbers results in approximately 156 million possible civilizations in our galaxy alone that meet the parameters setup by Frank Drake.  Most estimates state that the Milky Way Galaxy has between 100-400 billion stars.  Assuming a mid-point between the estimates of 250 billion stars we come up with a number of 0.0006 which is a generous number.  Regardless, our two numbers, on this scale seem to be very close to one another assuming various inaccuracies in the Drake equation.

My Analysis:

The signals seem to be coming from a very small sub-set of stars and are all far too accurate in timing, 1.65 picoseconds, to be a coincidence.  The odds that such a small number, nearly identical to what Frank Drake predicted, would be emitting pulses at exactly the same rate is far too much evidence to overlook or dismiss.

Yes, I do agree that this could turn out to be natural.  I do agree that the announcement was probably premature.  I also agree that we need a lot more evidence to backup the fact that this is from E.T. rather than a natural source.

Ultimately, when combined with other evidence like Tabby’s star, this all starts to make more sense.  Assuming we are alone and unique is very presumptuous and short-sighted.  If we took religious views out of the equation and for a moment assume religion did not exist.  Would we still believe that we are unique and alone?



BEC Crew. (2016, October 18). Stephen Hawking’s Alient-Hunting Project is Investigating Strange Signals from 234 Stars. Retrieved from Science Alert:

E.F. Borra, E. (2016, October 10). Discovery of peculiar periodic spectral modulations in a small fraction of solar type stars. Retrieved from Cornell University Library:

Various Authors. (n.d.). Drake equation. Retrieved from Wikipedia:




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