…. . .-.. .-.. — is Morse code for “Hello”.
The mysterious Tabby’s Star is once again in the news as new speculation comes from a recently published astrophysics paper by science writer Andrew Collins. In the paper, Collins says that the interval matches the cycle of our solar calendar of 242 days. He further says that the intervals are in multiples of 11, a prime number.
What does this mean? Well, it means that if there is intelligent life there they predicted that we would notice this pattern some 1300 years ago. It is quite possible that they detected life here that long ago and decided to build a beacon to get our attention.
I don’t think they would do it just for us. I think if they created a beacon then it would be for any species advanced enough to notice.
Look at it this way. Every species is going to develop at its own rate and there is no way to predict which ones will eventually develop to the point of looking up into the night sky and develop tools to ask, “Is there someone else out there?” Not to mention the differences in the technologies that can develop.
There’s no universal language that we know of but if aliens were to develop a way to communicate across vast distances then making a flickering light in a distinct pattern is a good choice.
But there’s a problem with that. If all they are saying is a series of prime numbers then there’s little information in the message and any answer would be a long way off since any reply we could generate would take 1300 years to reach them.
My hope is that if they were smart enough to create a beacon in the night then maybe in that flashing we also get schematics for some sort of new radio to speak with them.
Interestingly, this was also the premise of the Carl Sagan novel Contact. Aliens sending a message that repeated. This repeating message contained schematics for a way to contact them.