Space radio signals: What do EIGHT radio bursts mean for alien life hunt? | Science | News


Scientists have discovered strange repeating radio bursts emerging from deep space, more than quadrupling the number of signals detected this year. The eight radio bursts identified on Earth were spotted by the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) radio telescope. It is hoped the find will provide scientists with broader data which could finally unlock their extraterrestrial origin – and even more data appears to have been discovered.

The results of a separate observation from researchers in Australia has yet to be published, but it brings the number of findings in August alone to nine.

In addition to increasing the amount of data available to astronomers, the recent findings are significant for the type of radio bursts identified.

The radio signals repeat, allowing them can be studied for extended periods of time, unlike their one-off counterparts which can immediately disappear after detection.

Because of the latter’s transitory nature, tracing their origin is considered an almost-impossible task.

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However, in an unprecedented feat, astronomers last month managed to trace a one-off radio burst to its origin.

An Australian-led team traced a signal to a galaxy roughly 3.6 billion light-years away via the Gemini South telescope in Chile.

The recent radio signal spike also means scientists can be begin comparing and contrasting the signals and test new theories.

Harvard-Smithsonian astrophysicist Professor Vikram Ravi last month suggested all of the radio bursts could actually be repeating, only at frequencies previously undetected.

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Physicist Ziggy Pleunis of McGill University, said: “Just as some volcanoes are more active than others, and you can think a volcano is dormant because it has not erupted in a long time.”

Scientists have noted differences between what are thought to be repeating radio burst and their one-off relatives.

Repeating signals, for example, descend in frequency, offering what scientists have described a as a “sad trombone” effect.

Scientists have been helped in this attempt to unlock the mystery with an AI program that automatically detects the bursts when they reach Earth.

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Could Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) be signals from alien civilisations?

Controversy concerning whether there could be an intelligent alien origin of FRBs continues to rage .

Harvard University’s Professor Abraham Loeb recently revealed an extraterrestrial origin cannot be discounted.

He told Express.co.uk: “We still have no new clue on whether the origin is artificial or natural.

“The origin of FRBs is still a mystery. The data at hand is not sufficient to reveal the identity of their sources.”

Most astronomers, however, believe FRBs are created by large-scale astronomical phenomena.

One theory speculates the radio bursts are a side effect of dense neutron stars colliding with black holes.

Another theory suggests FRBs are produced by magnetars – neutron stars with incredibly powerful magnetic fields.



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