Mystery repeating energy bursts in deep space 'could be aliens'

Cesar Mills
January 12, 2019

There have been more than 60 FRBs observed by researchers to date; however, scientists have only ever recorded one other repeating burst from a single source.

But what's even rarer than FRBs is repeating FRBs; only one has ever been found, via the massive Arecibo array in Puerto Rico.

The signal was detected by the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME), a radio telescope designed and built by Canadian scientists.

Of the 13 new FRBs, seven of them were, unexpectedly, detected at 400 megahertz (MHz), the lowest radio frequencies measured so far for these bursts. And among them, a FRB flashed repeatedly six times in a row. That suggests they're far more common than that, and now that we know what to look for we're likely to find more.

The repeating fast radio burst (FRB) was one of 13 FRBs to be detected by the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment's (CHIME), a radio telescope in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley, during its pre-commissioning run in the summer of 2018. The frequency patterns also share some characteristics with magnetars, those rotating neutron stars that have always been suspected to be FRB sources. And when there are increased sources and more repeaters for the goal of conducting a study, the cosmic puzzles would become easier for them to have better understanding and it would then be clear that what the actual source of those blasts was.

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Theories include a neutron star that has a strong magnetic field spinning rapidly, the merging of two neutron stars and even alien spaceships.

Over time, Stairs says researchers will hopefully be able to develop a "clearer picture" that could lead to figuring out what exactly is producing these radio waves. "There are some models where intrinsically the source can't produce anything below a certain frequency", said Arun Naidu of McGill University in Canada, who was part of the team that detected the signal. They were picked up by a telescope in Canada. This remarkable observation could help scientists to better understand this phenomenon and where these bursts originate in the universe. The new signal is known as FRB 180814.J0422+73. It also heard a very unusual repeating signal, coming from the same source about 1.5 billion light years away.

National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) radio dishes of the Very Large Array near Socorro, New Mexico, is where the 2012 FRB was documented. The mystery about why these bursts happen and where they come from continues, which always spurs believers to think that advanced extraterrestrial civilizations are creating them.

To which he added: "CHIME is the most prolific FRB hunter in the world and we are looking forward to sharing new results in the upcoming months". "But it has to be in some special place tog I've us all the scattering that we see".

But, from whatever little data exists, most scientists do not believe that FRBs are attempts by aliens to contact us.

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