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15 mystery high-energy radio bursts detected

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great article 

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They talk as if whatever it is, is happening now, this started 3 billion years ago when Earth was very very young.

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https://phys.org/news/2017-08-distant-galaxy-high-energy-radio.html

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 The Breakthrough Listen project is involved in these observations of fast radio bursts. The intent of that project is to seek out signs of extraterrestrial intelligence. This clearly seems to indicate that they consider that at least some of the fast radio bursts could have an intelligent origin. Fascinating stuff! Thank you, UM-Bot, for sharing this information. 

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4 hours ago, seanjo said:

They talk as if whatever it is, is happening now, this started 3 billion years ago when Earth was very very young.

It's all a matter of view point. For an observer on Earth it IS happening now.

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The instrument accumulated 400 terabytes (a million million bytes) of data over a five-hour period, observing across the entire 4 to 8 GHz frequency band. This large dataset was searched for signatures of short pulses from the source over a broad range of frequencies, with a characteristic dispersion, or delay as a function of frequency, caused by the presence of gas in space between Earth and the source. The distinctive shape that the dispersion imposes on the initial pulse is an indicator of the amount of material between us and the source, and hence an indicator of the distance to the host galaxy.

 

... That's a really big file!

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I see that the SETI Institute is also observing FRB 121102. They are doing so as I type this. That makes two independent SETI projects that are willing to consider an intelligent cause for the phenomenon. Scientists at both projects apparently think the odds of this being the case are good enough to make it worth the effort to test this hypothesis. 

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Be careful what you wish for.  :alien:

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22 hours ago, Waspie_Dwarf said:

It's all a matter of view point. For an observer on Earth it IS happening now.

Maybe so, but the source was in the past, and if it was life that was the source, they are probably long dead.

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We're reportedly seeing something that happened about 3 billion years ago, in these fast radio bursts. If we were to posit an intelligent cause, the civilization that was responsible might no longer exist.

Still, it may be that the more advanced a civilization, the longer it is able to exist.  For example, the ability to detect and deflect asteroids that were headed their way could eliminate a very serious long-term threat. 

Even at our present state of civilization, we can detect many near-Earth asteroids in advance, and have begun to consider how they could be diverted.

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I think the idea put forward by some senior scientists that these fast radio bursts are being used by intelligent ETs to push starships with huge 'solar sails' along is a bit far-fetched. At least I hope it is because there would be nothing to push them back home again, it would be a one way trip. And if the target planet is already occupied what happens then?

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Posted (edited)

Well, once they arrive somewhere, they could set up another transmitter, and have it push them back home, couldn't they?

I see that this particular radio source, FRB 121102, has received and will continue to receive a good deal of attention, at the Greenbank (radio astronomy) Observatory. It was observed, on Sept. 25th and 27th, and will be again, on Oct. 24th, 25th, and 31st, and Nov. 1st. 

An interesting audio analysis of these radio bursts has been made. Quite intriguing how the slowed-down audio seems to descend in discrete, even steps  Please find a link to a recording of this, and explanatory text, below:

https://msdct.wordpress.com/2017/09/04/the-sounds-of-fast-radio-bursts-frb-121102-audio-analysis/

 

Edited by bison
corrected link address, text.

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9 hours ago, bison said:

Well, once they arrive somewhere, they could set up another transmitter, and have it push them back home, couldn't they?

Maybe, but if the device could be carried by the starship wouldn't it be more efficient to just install it on the ship and use it as the propulsion system. Though I believe these FRBs have enormous amounts of energy so maybe a generator of these bursts would have to be installed on a planet. I think I heard or read somewhere that we have no idea how to generate anywhere near that much radio energy.

Thanks for the link to the FRB audio files... very interesting sound. It may just be the sound of the universe creating space and time to expand into.

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Posted (edited)

A space vessel might not be able to withstand the huge energy of the FRB transmitter at very close range. This could prevent it being placed aboard ship. In any case, this is only one, highly speculative, explanation for FRBs.

The sounds of the FRB, which are only discernible as separate tones when greatly slowed down, are very mysterious. I haven't heard any suggestion of what sort of astrophysical process could create such impulses.  The impulses in the recording were emitted over a very short period of time. This seems to indicate that they are the internal structure of a single Fast Radio Burst.  

Edited by bison
clarified text

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7 hours ago, bison said:

A space vessel might not be able to withstand the huge energy of the FRB transmitter at very close range. This could prevent it being placed aboard ship.

Again, maybe. But it would need far less power to push the ship along if it was on board. You could listen to any radio transmission that contained information and slow it down so it sounded unusual. Especially some of the digital transmission modes. What makes me think the FRBs are some kind of natural phenomenon is they're wide band, they have a wide bandwidth. If they had a narrow bandwidth and had some modulation, some kind of structured information in them we would know for sure they were synthetic signals produced by some kind of device for sure and certain, even if we couldn't decode them. We would however know for sure that we're not alone.

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Posted (edited)

I'm not at all certain that, in this sort of propulsion system, it would help much to have to the transmitter aboard ship. As long as the action-reaction principle applies, but mass is not being ejected by the vessel, the beam must press against something like a planet, in order to push itself along. The inefficiency due to the dispersion of the beam would be almost as bad, it seems, if it went from ship to planet, rather than planet to ship.

What impressed me about the audio analysis of the FRB impulse was the regularity and orderliness of the descending, discrete tones. It's just conceivable that this is telling us something about a form of modulation.

When a great deal of information is impressed on radio waves, within a given unit of time, the bandwidth required is much greater. For example, a television signal is very much broader than one made up of morse code, because the former contains so much more information being sent per second. It's just possible that we're looking at a very information-dense signal. 

Edited by bison
qualifier added

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1 hour ago, bison said:

I'm not at all certain that, in this sort of propulsion system, it would help much to have to the transmitter aboard ship. As long as the action-reaction principle applies, but mass is not being ejected by the vessel, the beam must press against something like a planet, in order to push itself along. The inefficiency due to the dispersion of the beam would be almost as bad, it seems, if it went from ship to planet, rather than planet to ship.

I was thinking more along the lines of a fan on a sailing boat blowing against the sail and blowing the boat along, as demonstrated on the TV series 'Mythbusters'. But I haven't given it a great deal of thought as I don't think that's what these FRBs are doing.

I think if we were looking at an information dense signal the boffins would be able to tell that was the case. They would be able to analyse a sample and be able to determine fairly quickly if the signal contained artificially structured modulated information or not.

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Posted (edited)

It's still very 'early days' where FRBs are concerned, particularly with this lone, repeating one, FRB 121102. The slowed down impulses revealed something very odd and orderly seeming. This could be the start of the sort of analysis to which you refer. Further slowing, if practical, is indicated in order to resolve the question about the pulses containing complex, intelligent information. 

Edited by bison
improved word choice

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