UFO hunters were sent into meltdown after a renowned US astronomer revealed the Zelenchukskaya observatory, in Russia, had apparently picked up a signal from the star system HD164595.
But Vladimir Putin’s star gazers kept the shock finding secret for more than six months.
Space boffins even called on the SETI program – which leads the world’s hunt for extraterrestrial life – to comb the constellation for little green men after the shock revelation.
“We discovered an unusual signal”
The “signal” from the constellation Hercules was an unnatural wavelength – and eight times brighter than the Moon.
Astronomer Paul Gilster, of the website Centairu Dreams, claimed it could be evidence of an alien civilisation.
But one of the researchers at the Ratan-600 radio telescope array, which made the discovery in spring, denied the signal came from Martians.
BURSOV ET AL
Yulia Sotnikova revealed the team later worked out it came from a Soviet-era satellite.
She said: “Some time ago, in the spring of this year, an unusual signal was received but its analysis showed that it was most likely a terrestrial disturbance.”
Alexander Ipatov, director of the Institute of Applied Astronomy at the Russian Academy of Sciences, said: “We indeed discovered an unusual signal.
“However, an additional check showed that it was emanating from a Soviet military satellite – which had not been entered into any of the catalogs of celestial bodies.”