Repeated radio signals from deep space thrust advanced alien life theories

Pablo Tucker
January 12, 2019

These events emit as much energy in one millisecond as the Sun emits in 10,000 years, but the physical phenomenon that causes them is unknown.

But this is only the second one that has been found to repeat.

There are lights in the universe that we do not see.

Indeed, it's still early days in our understanding of FRBs, but a pair of papers published today in Nature are offering tantalising new clues about this enigmatic feature of the cosmos.

Astronomers have been finding FRB's since 2002, though dozens of discoveries have shed little light on what these signals are or where they originate.

Unlike typical FRBs that come and go, the discovery of a repeating FRB is vital to increasing our understanding of them, as we are able to train our radio telescopes towards them to study them further.

Scientists at the MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research are part of a team that has discovered 13 fast radio bursts (FRBs), as well as the second repeating FRB ever recorded, using a revolutionary radio telescope.

"Until now, there was only one known repeating FRB", Ingrid Stairs, a member of the CHIME team and an astrophysicist at the University of British Columbia, said in a statement.

The radio telescope was still in its pre-commissioning phase and operating with only a small amount of its full capacity in the summer of 2018 when it detected this and 12 singular fast radio bursts. They could be the result of magnetars, or rapidly spinning neutron stars that have been strongly magnetized.

The mystery is partially owed to a lack of data; since astronomers first discovered FRBs in 2007, only about 60 have been observed. CHIME can only record signals between 400 MHz and 800 MHz. The telescope functions round the clock and scans the entire northern sky to catch transient FRBs.

As for the new repeater, it's called FRB 180814.J0422+73. Some believe it could be a neutron star from a magnetic field.

Detected from the hills of British Columbia, these repeated signals appear to be coming from a source estimated at about 1.5 billion light-years.

The majority of the 13 FRBs detected showed signs of "scattering" which is a phenomenon that reveals information about the environment surrounding a source of radio waves. "We have not solved the problem, but it's several more pieces in the puzzle".

"FRBs, it seems, are likely generated in dense, turbulent regions of host galaxies", Shriharsh Tendulkar, a corresponding author for both studies and an astronomer at McGill University in Canada, told AFP news agency.

But the things here are still the same mysterious as they had been before but there somehow are basic evidences which gives the idea about from where such explosions might have been coming from. If we want to apprehend them one day, then it will probably be necessary to think and build even more sensitive instruments.

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