by Paul Vigay
26th August 2001
Paul Vigay looks at
the Chilbolton 'Arecibo message' Formation of 2001 and
compares it with the original SETI transmission.
On Tuesday 21st August 2001 two new crop formations were reported
near Chilbolton radio telescope in Hampshire, UK. Both were very
impressive looking and consisted of a large number of small
'pixels', which when viewed from the air formed a recognizable shape
- unlike many other crop formations.
One represented a 'human face' and the other resembled a radio
transmission that SETI (the Search for Extra-Terrestrial
Intelligence) sent from the Arecibo radio telescope in 1974.
This latter formation will be examined in this article, in which I
hope to not only describe and explain the original transmission, but
also to examine and decode a number of significant changes occurring
in the crop formation.
After speaking to witnesses, it would
appear that the 'Arecibo' formation was created on August 20th.
Although I could roughly make out the binary pattern of the
formation from aerial photographs, some aspects were not quite clear
enough to discern individual 'digits'.
Therefore I visited both formations
myself (they are about 200m apart in the same field) on Saturday
25th August 2001.
First, I will give some background to the original message sent from
Arecibo, back in 1974.
Arecibo is on the northern coast of Puerto Rico and contains a
natural disc-shaped hole in the rock. Inside this bowl was
constructed the world's largest radio-telescope, with a diameter of
In 1974 a number of modifications had been carried out to the
transmitter, enabling it to broadcast signals at a power of up to 20
terawatts (1 terawatt = 1 trillion watts) and as an inaugural test
of these improvements it was decided by SETI to transmit an encoded
message to the heavens. This signal was aimed towards the globular
star cluster M13, some 25,000 light years away and consisting of
some 300,000 stars in the constellation of Hercules.
The message was actually transmitted on November 16th 1974 and
consisted of 1679 pulses of binary code (0's and 1's) - which took a
little under three minutes to transmit.
It was transmitted on a frequency of
2380MHz (which is significant later).
The reason for this is down to mathematics.
1679 is the unique
product of two prime numbers; 23 and 73. Any sufficiently
intelligent life-form would no doubt look for unique, universal
constructs - such as prime numbers, chemical element frequencies and
binary digits. Don't forget that because we could be trying to
communicate with an intelligence completely different to our own, we
cannot talk in terms of 'human' systems, such as centimeters, feet,
decimal numbers etc.
Because ONLY the two prime numbers 23 and 73, when multiplied
together, produce 1679 there can only be a single way to arrange the
signal, if you were converting it into a matrix grid - 23 squares by
The original binary code is shown in figure 1.
In order to fully understand the message encoded in the
transmission, it's essential to understand the binary code. This is
actually much simpler than our base 10, decimal system.
base 10 we count from 1 to 9 and then carry 1 into the 10's column
and start again in the units column, until we've got 9 in the 10's
column and 9 in the units column.
Then we have to carry 1 into the 100's
column and start again in the 10's and units columns, and so on and
In binary each column goes up in powers
of 2, hence the columns are units, 2's, 4's, 8's, 16's etc. Because
we can only deal in 1's and 0's, we rapidly move up through the
columns - because as soon as we exceed 1 we carry into the next
column. For an example of counting in binary, see the table to the
To go back to the original transmission of binary pulses (fig.1), by
converting it into 23 columns of 73 rows we get the matrix shown in
You can now see a graphical pattern
depicted by the 1's and 0's of the code.
For clarity I've converted
this into black squares (representing 1's) and white (empty) squares
(representing 0's). You can see that viewing it like this, makes the
actual message a lot clearer, as shown in figure 3.
This is where a slight puzzle becomes visible. By performing the
steps described above, the literal translation of the original
pulses is on the left of figure 3. However, the image printed in a
couple of my books is that shown on the right of figure 3.
This is an exact left-right mirror image
of my decoding. I suspect that this is possibly an error which went
un-noticed when the book went to print - although I have checked two
books which both depict the same pattern as shown on the right of
The pattern which occurred in the Chilbolton crop field, is the same
image as shown in the books (i.e. the one on the right of fig.3 and
the mirror image of the original decoding). This could imply that IF
someone hoaxed the formation, they copied the incorrect pattern
printed in a book. Alternatively, I may have converted the original
pulses by mapping left to right when converting into a 23x73 grid,
instead of going from right to left - which personally doesn't seem
correct to my interpretation of the original binary sequence.
If anyone can explain this discrepancy, I would love to hear your
comments. However, for the purposes of the rest of this article I
shall refer to the pattern physically laid in the crop field.
The results are the same because the
actual code remains unchanged irrespective of whether it's the
original or a mirror image anyway - as the binary coding remains
The original message was comprised of several 'sections', each
depicting a particular aspect of 'our civilization'. At the top are
binary representations of the numbers one through to ten,
interestingly showing the numbers eight, nine and ten as two
columns. This shows anyone decoding the message that we can specify
that numbers too large to be written on a single line can be
The next section contains the binary values 1, 6, 7, 8 and 15 which
indicate the atomic numbers of the primary elements for life on
The larger section of three rows, represents the formulas for the
sugars and bases in the nucleotides of DNA.
Beneath this is a
graphical representation of our DNA 'double helix' either side of a
'straight vertical bar' which indicates the number of nucleotides in
Directly below the DNA double helix is a
small representation of us - humans - with a body and two arms and
two legs (like a little stick man).
On the left is a binary value of
the population of Earth. This can be calculated as roughly 4.29
billion, which is roughly the population of the world, back in 1974.
On the right of the humanoid form is a binary code for the height of
Because we cannot communicate in 'human'
measurements (such as feet and inches) the height is represented in
'wavelength units'. As mentioned earlier, the actual message was
transmitted on 2380MHz. To convert this into a wavelength we divide
into 300, to obtain a wavelength in meters. 300/2380 = 0.12605042m =
This is our 'wavelength unit'.
From the code for the height of a human, we can see that the value
is 1110 in binary, or 14 in decimal. If we multiply 14 by our
wavelength unit (12.6) we get 176.4cm, or roughly 5'9" - the average
height of humans.
The next section is a simplified representation of our Solar System
- where we live. It shows the sun and nine planets, roughly
representative of size. By moving the third planet up slightly it
highlights that something is significant about the third planet from
the sun - Earth.
The last section depicts the origin of the message itself - the
Arecibo radio telescope, which is the curved structure. Underneath
this, as the last two lines of the message, is another binary
number. This time it's 100101111110 (split onto two lines in the
centre) and equates to 2430 in decimal.
Again, using our universal 'wavelength
units' we get 2430*12.6cm which is 30618cm - or approx 1000', the
diameter of the Arecibo radio dish.
different in the Crop Formation?
After extensive analysis I have discovered nine major discrepancies
between what we see in the crop field at Chilbolton and the original
message that we transmitted to the stars in 1974. I shall leave any
interpretation until later, but for now just highlight the
differences. The exact detail of these changes couldn't be confirmed
until I actually visited the formation on the ground, in order to
accurately check the binary code - reading flattened crop as a 0 and
standing crop squares as 1's.
Rather than point out the differences in order of importance or
anything, I shall merely start at the top of the pattern and work
The numbers 1 to 10 appear exactly the
same in the formation.
However the atomic numbers indicating the prevalent elements making
up life on Earth, has an additional value inserted into the binary
sequence. This is precisely added in the correct location, and in
the original binary code (therefore it can't be a mistake).
from the crop formation, this additional element has an atomic
number of 14 = Silicon.
Moving down, the next change is an obvious one - consisting of an
extra strand on the left side of the DNA double-helix. Another, less
obvious, change is in the binary coding of the number of nucleotides
in DNA itself (in the center). If you look in the diagram above,
I've highlighted the changes more accurately on the right, by using
red squares and outlines to indicate which 'digits' have been
changed in the crop formation.
There are quite significant changes to the shape of the humanoid,
which becomes almost 'alien-like' and to the diagram of the Arecibo
dish. For clarity, I've not bothered going over these in red because
the differences are easily apparent.
Either side of what is now an ET, there are changes to both the
'population' figure and also the height value. The latter is now
1000 in binary, or 8. If we multiply this by the original
'wavelength unit' we get 8*12.6cm = 100.8cm which is roughly 3'4" -
interesting, because this would correlate with ET witness accounts.
Below this we notice additional changes to the Solar System chart.
The third planet from the sun is not the only one 'highlighted' now.
The fourth and fifth are as well. The fifth even appears to be
emphasized even more, with three additional 'pixels'.
Lastly, what was representative of the Arecibo transmitter in the
original message is even more cryptic and would imply a diagrammatic
version of the formation which appeared in the same field at
Chilbolton last year, in 2000. This can be viewed in my database,
reference uk2000ee.The binary code for the size of the transmitter is also altered.
I'll leave the reader to work out the new value....
What does it
I am hesitant to make too much of an interpretation myself,
preferring to share the research and information with which to
enable readers to continue the search for answers and further their
However, there are some fairly obvious implications from the crop
formation. First, and quite obvious from the aerial view is the
shape of the ET figure. This clearly has the little stick-like body
with two arms and two legs, but has a much larger head and two
distinct eyes. This is almost reminiscent of
Indeed, the modified 'height' code corresponding to
just over three feet would also confirm this aspect.
If you decode the 'population' binary sequence in the actual crop
formation you get a value of approx 21.3 billion - a lot bigger than
the original transmission, and indeed Earth's current population?
Perhaps this is the population of their own planet, or even the
combined human and ET population of Earth - if you believe, like
some researchers, that Earth is already populated by an unseen ET
If you assume that the alterations to the 'Solar
System' section in the crop formation refer to several planets, then
this could also indicate the combined population of inhabited
planets somewhere. I leave this for the reader to decide.
There is also some indication of a change in the basic DNA structure
The additional (third) strand shown on the left and also a
change in the number of nucleotides indicates a different DNA to
ours. It seems quite similar to ours, so perhaps it's a genetic
alteration or even a mutation of ours?
The difference in the Solar System information could indicate one of
two scenarios; Either it still refers to our own Solar System, but
in addition to highlighting Earth is also highlighting the fourth
and fifth planets - Mars and Jupiter. Of course, the additional
highlight on the 'fifth planet' could actually refer to the asteroid
belt which lies between Mars and Jupiter and is in reality the
'fifth element' from the sun.
Alternatively, it might not correspond
to our own Solar System at all, but to the ET's own solar system -
which would also appear to consist of nine planets. The sun is also
depicted in the crop formation as slightly smaller. Could this be
their smaller sun, or could it be supposed to represent some point
in our own future - perhaps when the sun has become smaller and
we've populated the other planets? This latter idea, although highly
speculative, could even indicate the DNA modification through
increased genetic experiments...?
The representation of last years formation in place of the Arecibo
dish is possibly the most difficult to interpret. It could indicate
a number of things, or merely indicate that ET saw the formation of
last year and saw that as representative of the home of the message
- i.e. Chilbolton.
However, if you look at the whole message on a more philosophical
level, it's all centered around communication - and notifying the
heavens of our existence. Could the representation of a crop circle
(the shape, merely chosen because it was the one at the same 'home'
location of the message) be to indicate that crop circles are indeed
a form of communication?
Irrespective of the origin of this
formation, you cannot dispute the fact that people the world-over
are communicating more because of their crop circle experiences!
Lastly, one significant difference that I also find very intriguing,
and which I can exclusively reveal for the first time, concerns the
table at the top containing the atomic numbers. The crop circle has
an additional column added.
However, as mentioned above, it's not an
error because it's re-encoded and inserted in the correct sequence.
Could this be an additional pointer to the physiology of
Perhaps ET is a silicon based life-form instead of carbon based,
I haven't fully explained every discrepancy, merely because I'm
deliberately keeping a couple of subtle aspects back so that we can
ask for further explanation, should anyone claim it as a hoax.
I should point out at this point that the actual quality of the
formation on the ground was remarkably good.
However, it did appear
to have been flattened in terms of a grid - i.e. going across the
formation and down the formation. The nearby 'face' formation was
more elaborate in terms of the ground lay, as each individual circle
appeared to have been swirled separately to the rest of the
formation, indicated by a smooth swirl of crop around each circle,
instead of being brushed across the formation, forming pathways
between each circle.
However, both formations would represent an immense effort required
in order to portray what we see in the field and from the air. To
create either within the constraints of a few hours of darkness is
extremely impressive irrespective of their origin; terrestrial or
Again, irrespective of origin, both have taught me personally a
great deal about SETI, human physiology, binary encoding and more
importantly - communication, both in transcribing this for you the
reader, as well as academic conversations I've had with people as a
result of doing this analysis.
While reading this, I hope that you feel the sense of wonder and
learning that I felt whilst writing it.