'Alien' signal turns out to be microwave oven
April 14, 2015 | 47 comments
Microwaves appear to be able to emulate signals from space. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Apoltix
Astronomers in Australia discovered an unexpected source for a series of mysterious radio signals.
The team at the Parkes Observatory in New South Wales had been investigating unexplained radio signals known as a perytons which bear a close resemblance to the mysterious "fast radio bursts" recently put forward as possible evidence of a type of intelligent extraterrestrial communication.
Far from being a message from aliens however the perytons turned out to have a far more mundane, though amusing, explanation.
"We have identified strong out-of-band emission at 2.3-2.5 GHz associated with several peryton events," wrote astronomer Emily Petroff in a paper detailing the findings.
"Subsequent tests revealed that a peryton can be generated at 1.4 GHz when a microwave oven door is opened prematurely and the telescope is at an appropriate relative angle."
In other words - the mysterious peryton signals were being produced whenever someone was opening their microwave door before the timer had finished counting down.
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