Or, maybe aliens. Okay, most professionals will say it is something besides aliens because 1) it’s career suicide to make such a strong declarative statement without strong proof, and 2) it might be something else. But. Astronomers detected a signal from a red dwarf about eleven light years away. Some things that make this signal distinctive: 1) it happened at a frequency usually ignored and 2) the signal lasted ten minutes rather than previous candidate signals that only lasted a few seconds. So far the signal hasn’t been repeated and isn’t obviously a message. The professional expectation is that the signal is either the discovery of an astronomical phenomenon or our local interference. This signal plus phenomenon like Tabby’s Star are examples of how the movies may have it wrong. The discovery of alien life probably won’t be from interstellar craft or messages beamed at us directly. The evidence will probably be inconclusive, easily dismissed, and easily confused with something else. This is the era when we finally get to see and listen well enough across enough of the sky that we are increasingly likely to uncover the first evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence. Whether this is it or not, this could be how it begins.

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