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Mystery surrounds deep space radio bursts


Posted on Wednesday, 1 April, 2015 | Comment icon 70 comments

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)

Tags: Fast Radio Bursts, SETI, Extraterrestrial

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #61 Posted by Jacques Terreur on 5 April, 2015, 9:26
I have read something like this before. I believe it was during the 1970's when the NASA evidently received of what sounded like a radio wave from outer space. No one could explain the sound and no one could trace where it came from. yep, that was mentioned here before. Search through the forum, or take a look here: http://en.wikipedia....iki/Wow!_signal
Comment icon #62 Posted by Derek Willis on 5 April, 2015, 9:33
True. But if had lasted longer, other people would have seen it and recorded it. As I understand it, the WOW signal wasn't directly observed by anyone, it was only discovered when someone was going through the printouts. http://www.bigear.or...0th/wow30th.htm The Big Ear telescope is a far cry from what we have today, but sadly the signal never repeated itself. I believe that was the case, which again draws attention to how ineffective the Big Ear project was - not their fault, a lack of funding. Considering the strength and duration of the Wow! signal, I think it is a mystery that no-one else... [More]
Comment icon #63 Posted by toast on 5 April, 2015, 10:17
Considering the strength and duration of the Wow! signal, I think it is a mystery that no-one else detected it. The signal originated somewhere in the direction of Saggitarius, and I think it is unlikely it - whatever the source - was targeted only at Ohio at precisely the time the Big Ear swept over that part of the sky. No it isnt a mistery at all. Maybe BigEar was the only telescope that screened the Saggitarius area at the time of the transmission and maybe BigEar was the only telescope that had its recievers set to 1420MHz that time and the detection of the signal required both of these c... [More]
Comment icon #64 Posted by Noteverythingisaconspiracy on 5 April, 2015, 10:17
I believe that was the case, which again draws attention to how ineffective the Big Ear project was - not their fault, a lack of funding. Considering the strength and duration of the Wow! signal, I think it is a mystery that no-one else detected it. The signal originated somewhere in the direction of Saggitarius, and I think it is unlikely it - whatever the source - was targeted only at Ohio at precisely the time the Big Ear swept over that part of the sky. Imagine if it was an attempt by aliens to contact us. They must now be thinking we are a pretty useless bunch! I would be more surprised i... [More]
Comment icon #65 Posted by toast on 5 April, 2015, 10:24
Todays SETI Projects solves that problem by using multiple radio telescopes. The Allen array has 42 telescopes. http://www.seti.org/...ails/fact-sheet Did you praised Paul Allen today already, Noteverythingisaconspiracy, as I did/I often do?
Comment icon #66 Posted by Derek Willis on 5 April, 2015, 10:35
No it isnt a mistery at all. Maybe BigEar was the only telescope that screened the Saggitarius area at the time of the transmission and maybe BigEar was the only telescope that had its recievers set to 1420MHz that time and the detection of the signal required both of these conditions in combination. My math, they would be right anyway. Then that suggests that if the signal was a short duration event it must have specifically been targeted at the Big Ear precisely at the right time. Or, it must have been a longer duration event that was not specifically targeted at the Big Ear, but no-one else... [More]
Comment icon #67 Posted by toast on 5 April, 2015, 11:03
,(...) that must have been a hell of a coincidence! Yes indeed.
Comment icon #68 Posted by Derek Willis on 5 April, 2015, 11:09
Yes indeed. Well, I can't really argue against that. I think it was Brian Cox who said that the odds that we are here discussing the odds that we are here are ridiculously small, yet here we are doing just that.
Comment icon #69 Posted by Harte on 5 April, 2015, 12:18
It is well known that the smelloscope was will be invented by professor Farnsworth. On a more serious note, it would be very exiting if it turned out to be artificial. Unfortunately all such signals have so far turned out to have a more boring explanation or, as in the case of the WOW signal, been of such short duration that it could never be confirmed what it was. Perhaps the WOW signal was in smellish. If only we had the smelloscope! Harte
Comment icon #70 Posted by mynameisachu on 5 April, 2015, 12:37
But it cannot be excluded that high advanced extraterrestrial civilization do use star farts for interstellar communication purposes (long-long-short-long-short-short-long. Or so.) well its not like we never send weird junk in to space so you can see that it doesn't relly halve to be advanced civilization, in fact whorent we once stupid enough to send a satellite or whatever with a detailed schematic of the human body making it easy for any hostile species to know how to gut humans


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