The 1,640-foot-diameter telescope based in China’s Guizhou province has detected unusual electromagnetic signals which scientists claim could have alien origins. This was revealed in a report by the official newspaper of China’s Ministry of Science and Technology, Science and Technology Daily.
The report said narrow-band, electromagnetic signals detected by Sky Eye vary from previous ones detected and the team is investigating them further.
It cited Zhang Tonjie who is chief scientist of an extraterrestrial civilisation search team co-founded by Beijing Normal University, the National Astronomical Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the University of California, Berkeley.
The report appeared but was then removed from the website of the Science and Technology Daily, according to news agency Bloomberg.
But news of the finding was already trending on Chinese social network Weibo and was picked up by other media outlets, including state-run ones.
It comes after NASA chief Bill Nelson confirmed he believes there is alien life somewhere in the Universe.
He was speaking during the Financial Times’ Investing in Space Summit.
Asked whether he believed “extraterrestrial life is out there”, Mr Nelson said: “The short answer to your question is yes.
“The longer answer is to look how big the universe is.”
Exoplanets are planets which are outside our own solar system.
He added the suspicious signals could also be some sort of radio interference, meriting further investigation.
With a diameter of 500 metres (1,640 feet) Sky Eye is the world’s largest, full dish radio telescope.
Officially named Five-hundred-metre Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST), the instrument’s receiving area is equivalent to 30 football fields.
It is based in the Dawodang depression which is a natural basin in Guizhou.
NASA says life beyond Earth has never been found and there is no evidence alien life has ever visited our planet.
It adds this does not mean the universe is lifeless and while “no clear signs of life have ever been detected” the possibility of extraterrestrial biology, meaning the scientific logic which supports it, has “grown increasingly plausible”.
The rover Curiosity has shown ancient Mars was wetter and warmer and was “an entirely habitable place for microbial life”, according to NASA.
It says: “All the ingredients needed for life as we know it – the proper chemicals, a consistent source of energy, and water that was likely present and stable on the surface for millions of years – were clearly present.”