The truth is out there — and researchers at University of California, Berkeley are determined to find it with a new method announced in a scientific journal Tuesday for finding possible extraterrestrial life through radio signals from space.

The home page of UC Berkeley’s Breakthrough Listen project website. Researchers have developed a new technique that verifies the authenticity of radio signals being tracked from space, making it easier to filter out false positives. (Source:

Scientists have long searched for life on other planets through radio signals, but interference from terrestrial radios, cellphones, microwaves and other technologies often lead to false alarms. The new technique, developed by scientists at UC Berkeley’s Breakthrough Listen project, verifies that the radio signal they are tracking has actually passed through space, making it easier to filter out false positives.

The new detection method was described in an article that appeared in The Astrophysical Journal written by UC Berkeley graduate student Bryan Brzycki, UC Berkeley professor emeritus of astronomy Imke de Pater and Andrew Siemion, the director of UC Berkeley’s program to search for extraterrestrial life.

According to a UC Berkeley news release, radio signals by broadcast technology create a narrowband radio signal, which is distinguished from the broad range of radio signals created by cosmic sources, like stars or supernovas. Because of terrestrial radio interference, determining what signals came from space can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. Researchers at UC Berkeley were able to create an algorithm that analyzes radio signals for the unique signatures created by travelling through space.

What — or who — might be out there in the universe waiting to communicate with us earthlings? Scientists may one day be able to cut through the clutter of terrestrial radio interference to find out. (Image via Freepik)

This technique will be useful for signals that have originated more than 10,000 light years from Earth, researchers say. The new technique will be employed in future searches for alien life at the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia — the largest steerable radio telescope in the world — and the MeerKAT radio telescope in South Africa.

Spencer Otte recently graduated from Cal Sate Fullerton, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism. At Fullerton, he was the news editor and editor-in-chief of The Daily Titan and covered the 2022 midterm elections, the 2021 Orange County Oil Spill and President Biden’s visit to Irvine. This summer, Spencer was selected to be an editing intern through the Dow Jones News Fund.