Could we be picking up communications from deep space ? Image Credit: NASA / Hubble
First picked up in 2001, these so-called 'fast radio bursts' are continuing to perplex scientists.
To date only ten of the bursts have been detected and unlike most other astronomical phenomena they seem to follow a distinct mathematical pattern, leading some astronomers to wonder whether there might be an intelligence behind them.
Thought to be coming from outside of our own galaxy, the bursts appear to be originating from a source that is only a few hundred kilometers across in size and fit a pattern that does not confirm to what we currently know about the universe.
One of the most peculiar things about the bursts is that the delay between the arrivals of the first and last wave of each one is almost always an exact multiple of 187.5, a line up that some scientists believe has only a 5 in 10,000 probability of being a coincidence.
"These have been intriguing as an engineered signal, or evidence of extraterrestrial technology, since the first was discovered," said SETI's Jill Tarter. "I'm intrigued. Stay tuned."
Whatever it is that's producing the bursts it's certainly nothing that has ever been seen before.
"[This] is something really interesting we need to understand," said Michael Hippke of the Institute for Data Analysis in Neukirchen-Vluyn, Germany. "This will either be new physics, like a new kind of pulsar, or, in the end, if we can exclude everything else, an ET."
Source: New Scientist | Comments (70)
Fast Radio Bursts, SETI, Extraterrestrial