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Mystery radio burst picked up by observatory


Posted on Saturday, 26 April, 2014 | Comment icon 44 comments


Where are the bursts coming from ? Image Credit: NASA / Hubble

A distant, enigmatic burst of radio waves has been detected by Puerto Rico's Arecibo Observatory.

Only a small handful of such bursts have ever been detected and up until recently all of them had been picked up by a telescope in Australia, leading some astronomers to question whether they may even be coming from deep space at all.

Now that the same mysterious burst of radio signals has also been picked up by the Arecibo observatory however the phenomenon has been the subject of renewed interest with scientists redoubling their efforts to determine where the bursts could be coming from.

Each burst recorded to date has lasted only a few thousandths of a second and seems to originate from an extremely distant part of the universe. Numerous theories have been put forward but nobody has been able to satisfactorily determine what could be producing them.

"The sources of the bursts are undoubtedly exotic by normal standards," wrote Cornell University astronomer Jim Cordes.

   
Source: National Geographic | Comments (44)

Tags: Arecibo, Radio Burst


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #35 Posted by DeWitz on 28 April, 2014, 20:50
Thanks, Hap.
Comment icon #36 Posted by toast on 28 April, 2014, 20:50
Link requires registration, not good.
Comment icon #37 Posted by HappyMonkey on 28 April, 2014, 21:13
Oops, probably because I linked from my account. Coursera is a free online school and is well regarded. Here is abetter link that shouldn't require registration.
Comment icon #38 Posted by toast on 28 April, 2014, 21:30
Still reg. required.
Comment icon #39 Posted by HappyMonkey on 28 April, 2014, 21:43
That's odd. Now in order to do the course you are required to register an account. This is in order to keep track of your progress. Otherwise if you have to log in just to view it somethings up on your end. I can view it just fine from multiple browsers. I know some of the professors personally and the site work in cooperation with accredited universities.
Comment icon #40 Posted by StarMountainKid on 28 April, 2014, 22:05
Here's a technical PDF: http://arxiv.org/pdf/1404.2934v1.pdf Here's a readable link: http://www.nrao.edu/pr/2007/brightburst/ Here's another link: http://venus.fandm.edu/~pulsar/frb/index.html Here's a Scientific American link: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-brilliant-flash-then-nothing-new-fast-radio-bursts-mystify-astronomers/
Comment icon #41 Posted by DeWitz on 29 April, 2014, 1:59
Thanks, Star.
Comment icon #42 Posted by PowerPC on 4 May, 2014, 20:55
@BISON - "The broad banded nature of the impulses has invited comparisons to natural astrophysical processes, rather than intelligent signals." I think if this were a natural astrophysical process it would be a much more common occurrence. The fact that this signal has astronomers and physicists investigating where it originated and what generated it makes this seem like a very rare occurrence. Most processes in the universe are predictable and explainable thanks to the laws of physics. It is very rare for any kind of signal to get this much scrutiny from the world of science so I b... [More]
Comment icon #43 Posted by bison on 5 May, 2014, 15:10
I wouldn't rule out the possibility that fast radio bursts could be intelligent signals, though extremely advanced ones. A very high data rate would presumably require a very broad bandwidth. SETI astronomers haven't ruled out this possibility, either. The Allen Telescope Array of the SETI Institute monitored the sky location of this latest FRB for a month, looking for signs of intelligent radio impulses. I doubt that a SETI discovery could be concealed by governments, supposing they wanted to do so. There have been several instances where a potentially intelligent signal from space h... [More]
Comment icon #44 Posted by StarMountainKid on 5 May, 2014, 16:37
I think it is one of the tenets of SETI to announce any signal to the public that may be extraterrestrial in origin.


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