1420 MHz, corresponds to the wavelength of radiation produced by a quantum mechanical “spin-flip transition” in neutral hydrogen atoms. Because hydrogen is the most abundant element in the Universe and because 1420 MHz is a relatively quiet frequency free from sources of natural radio interference, many SETI experts think that 1420 MHz is a good place to tune in interstellar broadcasts. Would aliens reason the same way? There’s no way to know, but the search has to start somewhere.

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