This is odd. Therefore aliens? Two French-Canadian astronomers have spotted strange flashes of colour from a set of stars. They say it's an alien civilisation. Others say it's just a glitch.

A study submitted to Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific by the Universite Laval astronomers in Quebec says that a handful of stars captured by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey appear to be behaving abnormally.

Out of 2.5 million stars studied, 234 showed signs of 'spectral modulation' - or rapid, minuscule changes in colours.

It was exactly what the astronomers were looking for.

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What excited them most was that these changes followed a repeating pattern, and that pattern was identical across many of the stars.

The study argues that this pattern is unlikely to be explained by natural forces. Therefore it is evidence of an alien civilisation attempting to alert the surrounding universe to its existence.

"We find that the detected signals have exactly the shape of an ETI signal predicted in the previous publication and are therefore in agreement with this hypothesis," it reads.

"The fact that they are only found in a very small fraction of stars within a narrow spectral range centred near the spectral type of the sun is also in agreement with the ETI hypothesis."

The above composite shows the extent of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, which has 3D mapped about one third of the sky. Photo / Sloan Digital Sky Survey
The above composite shows the extent of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, which has 3D mapped about one third of the sky. Photo / Sloan Digital Sky Survey