Mystery repeating energy bursts in deep space 'could be aliens'
Mystery repeating energy bursts in deep space 'could be aliens'
Mysterious radio signals from deep space detected
10 January, 2019, 01:39
Scientists searching for fast radio bursts (FRBs) that some believe may be signals sent from aliens may be happening every second.
Astronomers have revealed details of mysterious signals emanating from a distant galaxy, picked up by a telescope in Canada. Knowing that there is another suggests that there could be more out there.
The FRBs were detected first by accident in 2007 as a burst signal in radio astronomy data collected in 2001 was spotted.
Chime astrophysicist Dr Ingrid Stairs, from the University of British Columbia, Canada, said: 'Until now, there was only one known repeating FRB.
The radio waves were detected by the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME), the world's most powerful radio telescope, spread across an area as big as a football pitch.
The presence of a second source of repeat FRBs - as well as the detection during CHIME's brief active pre-commission period - hints at the potential existence of two different types of radio bursts, one that happen only once and another that results in multiple bursts from one spot.
He said: "Until now, there was only one known repeating FRB". The amount of scattering observed by the CHIME team led them to conclude the sources of FRBs are powerful astrophysical objects more likely to be in locations with special characteristics.
Having two sets of repeating bursts could also allow scientists to understand what distinguishes them from single bursts, helping them understand more about their source and watch for future blasts.
Tom Landecker, a CHIME team member from the National Research Council, said the findings provide rich information about the sources and environments that generate fast radio bursts.
Cherry Ng, an astronomer at the University of Toronto said: "That could mean in some sort of dense clump like a supernova remnant".
Artist's impression of the active galactic nucleus shows the supermassive black hole at the center of the accretion disk sending a narrow high-energy jet of matter into space, perpendicular to the disc in this image by Science Communication Lab in Kiel Germany, released on July 12, 2018.
The FRBs discovered were omitting unusually low frequencies, with previously detected FRBs having frequencies around 1,400 megahertz and the new discoveries bellow 800 MHz. "But it has to be in some special place tog I've us all the scattering that we see".
"[We now know] the sources can produce low-frequency radio waves and those low-frequency waves can escape their environment, and are not too scattered to be detected by the time they reach the Earth", he said.
Since then, CHIME has been at its maximum capacity, and it is expected to detect many more of the enigmatic pulses now that it is fully operational. "There are some models where intrinsically the source can't produce anything below a certain frequency", says team member Arun Naidu of McGill University.
"This tells us more about the properties of repeaters as a population".
"At the end of a year we may have found 1,000 more bursts".
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