Articles: Paul Vigay looks at the Chilbolton 'Arecibo
message' Formation of 2001
and compares it with the
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
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
The Arecibo message
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 1000 feet.
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).
Why 1679 digits?
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
Because ONLY the two prime
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 73 squares.
The original binary code is shown in figure 1 (right).
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.
Whereas in 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 so on.
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 left.
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
figure 2 (below).
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 above, 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 figure 3.
The pattern which occurred in the Chilbolton crop field,
is the same image as shown in the books (ie. 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 unaltered.
Decoding the original message
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
Hydrogen, Carbon, Nitrogen,
Oxygen and Phosphorus respectively. 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 DNA.
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 humans.
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 = 12.6cm. This is our 'wavelength
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.
What's different in the Crop Formation?
After extensive analysis I have discovered nine major
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 downwards.
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). Decoding 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 uk00ee. The binary code for the size of the
transmitter is also altered. I'll leave the reader to work out the
What does it all mean?
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 own knowledge.
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 the 'Greys'
UFO culture. Indeed, the modified 'height' code
corresponding to just over three feet would also confirm this
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 contingency?? 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 of ET. 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
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 - ie
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
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.
Silicon? Could this be an additional pointer to the
physiology of ET? Perhaps ET is a silicon based life-form
instead of carbon based, like us?
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 - ie. 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 extra-terrestrial.
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.
26th August 2001