CTA-102

CTA-102

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In astronomy
Astronomy
Astronomy is a natural science that deals with the study of celestial objects and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth...

, CTA 102, also known by its B1950 coordinates as 2230+114 (QSR B2230+114) and its J2000 coordinates as J2232+1143 (QSO J2232+1143), is a quasar
Quasar
A quasi-stellar radio source is a very energetic and distant active galactic nucleus. Quasars are extremely luminous and were first identified as being high redshift sources of electromagnetic energy, including radio waves and visible light, that were point-like, similar to stars, rather than...

 discovered in the early 1960s by a radio survey carried out by the California Institute of Technology
California Institute of Technology
The California Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Pasadena, California, United States. Caltech has six academic divisions with strong emphases on science and engineering...

. It has been observed by a large range of instruments since its discovery, including WMAP, EGRET
Egret
An egret is any of several herons, most of which are white or buff, and several of which develop fine plumes during the breeding season. Many egrets are members of the genera Egretta or Ardea which contain other species named as herons rather than egrets...

, GALEX
GALEX
The Galaxy Evolution Explorer is an orbiting ultraviolet space telescope launched on April 28, 2003. A Pegasus rocket placed the craft into a nearly circular orbit at an altitude of and an inclination to the Earth's equator of 29 degrees....

, VSOP and Parkes
Parkes Observatory
The Parkes Observatory is a radio telescope observatory, 20 kilometres north of the town of Parkes, New South Wales, Australia. It was one of several radio antennas used to receive live, televised images of the Apollo 11 moon landing on 20 July 1969....

, and has been regularly imaged by the Very Long Baseline Array
Very Long Baseline Array
The Very Long Baseline Array is a system of ten radio telescopes controlled remotely from the Array Operations Center in Socorro, New Mexico by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. The array works together as the world's largest dedicated, full-time astronomical instrument using the...

 since 1995. It has also been detected in gamma rays, and a gamma-ray flare has been detected from it.

In 1963 Nikolai Kardashev
Nikolai Kardashev
Nikolai Semenovich Kardashev is a Russian astrophysicist, and is the deputy director of the Russian Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow.Kardashev graduated from Moscow State University in 1955, following up at...

 proposed that the then-unidentified radio source could be evidence of a Type II or III extraterrestrial civilization on the Kardashev scale
Kardashev scale
The Kardashev scale is a method of measuring an advanced civilization's level of technological advancement. The scale is only theoretical and in terms of an actual civilization highly speculative; however, it puts energy consumption of an entire civilization in a cosmic perspective. It was first...

. Follow-up observations were announced in 1965 by Gennady Sholomitskii, who found that the object's radio emission was varying; a public announcement of these results caused a worldwide sensation. The idea that the emission was caused by a civilization was rejected when the radio source was later identified one of the many varieties of a quasar
Quasar
A quasi-stellar radio source is a very energetic and distant active galactic nucleus. Quasars are extremely luminous and were first identified as being high redshift sources of electromagnetic energy, including radio waves and visible light, that were point-like, similar to stars, rather than...

.

C.T.A. 102 is one of the two great false alarms in the history of SETI
SETI
The search for extraterrestrial intelligence is the collective name for a number of activities people undertake to search for intelligent extraterrestrial life. Some of the most well known projects are run by the SETI Institute. SETI projects use scientific methods to search for intelligent life...

, the other being the discovery of pulsars, specifically PSR B1919+21, which are rotating neutron stars.

The naive view of C.T.A. 102 as a sign of extra terrestrial intelligence was captured in the Byrds' 1967 song, C.T.A. 102