Altair is a bright star in the contellation of Aquila. It is only 16.7 light years away. We don’t yet know if there are Earth-sized planets on Altair, but we have just begun to learn how to look.
Here’s the problem: In 1983, Hisashi Hirabayashi and Masaki Morimoto were two astronomers at the Nishi-Harima Astronomical Observatory…
Well, this is awkward. It seems that they had enjoyed a little something to drink.
And they sent out a message in the direction of Altair.
“KANPAI!” Was the message, a traditional Japanese toast. They also sent the details of an alcohol molecule.
This was not the first message that Earthers have sent in the direction of the stars. The famous Arecibo message was sent in 1974, for instance.
But what’s interesting, and a little concerning, is that the signal to Altair will have already arrived by now (ca 1999), and if any Altairians received this message, and if they decided to reply right away, we will receive their message (or their light-speed invasion ships) sometime in 2015.