At the end of last week, astronomers involved in the search for possible signs of extraterrestrial life, during 5 hours identified 15 very fast radio signals coming our way from tiny galaxies 3 billion light years from us. We have already caught radio signals from this galaxy, but this time scientists were surprised by the frequency of these fast radio pulses, therefore, to determine their possible source, the researchers turned for help to other professional groups.
“The pulses from this source has never had such a high rate,” says Andrew Simion, head of the search initiative group Breakthrough Listen, based at the University of California, which was discovered by these signals. The group’s goal is to search for evidence of extraterrestrial life in the Universe.
Below you can see 14 of the 15 quick pulses across the spectrum.
Scientists interested in these fast radio pulses because they are one of the most unusual phenomena that have enormous power. The analysis shows that the pulses can for milliseconds to generate energy 500 million Suns, but we still understand very little about what causes them and where exactly they come to us.
And yet, before you immediately think about aliens, please note that the to a greater extent scholars are inclined to the astronomical nature of these signals, only can’t say for sure what creates them.
According to one of the most popular hypotheses, these duplicate signals are generated by a high-energy phenomenon called Magnetar – type neutron stars surrounded by a dense energetic material. Signals can also be created by young neutron stars, emitting radio pulses as it spins. And Yes, the version with the aliens, the scientists also discussed. Earlier this year a team of Harvard researchers hypothesized that these powerful radio bursts which can be used as a power source for space ships of aliens.
The excitement in their research adds the fact that since the first detection of these signals in 2007, scientists were able to confirm only a small number of such events. And all these signals seemed to be walking in our direction with the ends of the Universe. But that all changed in 2015, when researchers have confirmed repetitive fast pulses coming from the same place – FRB 121102 (as a result all these impulses got the same name). At the moment this is the only discovered source of repetitive signals.
Researchers found that whatever produced these repeated radio bursts, it is a dwarf galaxy about 3 billion light years from Earth. But despite the fact that to date, we have discovered more than 150 such signals from FRB 121102, we’re no closer to solving their real source. Therefore, the production of 15 new fast radio pulses coming from the same place within just a few hours, was very surprised and interested scientists.
The last signals were received in the early morning of Saturday, 26 August, radio telescope, green Bank, located in West Virginia (USA) and directed in the direction of FRB 121102. Over a period of about 5 hours instrument recorded 400 terabytes of data, scanning the entire frequency range from 4 to 8 GHz. When researchers project Breakthrough Listen performed an analysis of the data, was very surprised to see not one, but 15 clearly visible quick pulses. For comparison: in 2016, the astronomers took about 83 hours over a period of 6 months to determine a total of 9 pulses of FRB 121102.
After analyzing their dispersion (which allows you to determine how long the signals were to us), the scientists were able to confirm that all signals are coming from the same place. The signals were not only very fast but also had a frequency level much higher than previously observed signals. The peak of their power had a frequency of about 7 GHz.
“These observations may indicate that the source of FRB 121102 is now in a very active state, and the subsequent observation only confirmed this assumption, especially at higher radio frequencies,” reported a team of astronomers Telegram on my channel on Monday.
“We not only confirmed a new high-activity state of the source of these pulses. The fact that the tool used by project Listen, allows for a measurement of the properties of these mysterious impulses with greater precision than ever before,” said researcher Breakthrough Listen Vishal Ghajar, first determined the increased activity of FRB 121102.
“Outstanding features of the received receiver signal, capable of recording in several gigahertz frequency, allows signals to be distinguished by several billion individual channels, which in turn allows a new look at the frequency spectrum of the pulses and in the future to shed more light on the process giving rise to these FRB-emissions”.
So what does the latest data tell us about the likely nature of these impulses? A large sequence of these signals makes it unlikely the possibility that the pulses may be created by some cataclysmic event like the collapse of black holes. Of course, this does not exclude the possibility that these dramatic phenomena can not produce a single radio bursts, but repetitive – probably not.
As for the “alien” version, before to it to use, we first have to exactly try all possible natural astronomical events that can cause this phenomenon. But the amount of data which is available to scientists, yet does not allow them to do so. In addition, as pointed out in Breakthrough Listen when the pulses were sent, our Solar system was only less than 2 billion years. That is, this actually happened over a billion years before the Earth appeared and began to develop even the simplest of molecular life. It is unlikely it could be of interest and aim for highly probable addressee of such messages.
Whatever created these impulses, the last observation will hopefully allow you to get one step closer to understand what is really behind them.
“Are these fast radio signatures of extraterrestrial alien technology, project Breakthrough Listen helps to move the boundaries of our understanding of the Universe around us,” — said Simion.