Fast Radio Bursts From Deep Space Make ‘Alien Life’ Theories Alive

12 Janvier, 2019, 06:34 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • The uniquely shaped CHIME telescope in British Columbia

Astronomers have revealed that a telescope in Canada has picked up mysterious repeating signals emanating from a galaxy 1.5 billion light years away, BBC reported on Wednesday.

The last time they were detected was in 2007, when one was spotted by chance in radio astronomy data that had been collected in 2001.

As such, till it's proven otherwise, these FRBs could be like the Schrödinger's cat thought experiment - rumblings of an alien Honey Singh, rapping on in a distant galaxy for the conspiracy theorists out there, while still remaining nothing more than the final goodbyes of a dying black hole for dismissive scientists.

Additional bursts from the repeating FRB were detected in following weeks by the telescope, which is located in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley. Among these newly captured signals are seven bursts that registered at 400 megahertz - the lowest FRB frequency detected so far - and, for only the second time ever, an FRB that flashed repeatedly, six times in a row. Ingrid stairs who is the member of CHIME Team have had an interview in which he said that till now there had been one repeated FRB and there are clearer confirmations that there would be more suggestions like there have been before out there.

These events emit as much energy in one millisecond as the Sun emits in 10,000 years, but the physical phenomenon that causes them is unknown.

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Unlike typical FRBs that come and go, the discovery of a repeating FRB is vital to increasing our understanding of them, as we are able to train our radio telescopes towards them to study them further. The latest burst of signals were recorded at a frequency of 400 megahertz, whereas the first burst was recorded at a higher frequency of 700 megahertz.

At distances of billions of light years it's obviously very hard to test any of these theories, but detecting more FRBs, especially those that have a habit of repeating, could bring us closer to an explanation.

But what's even rarer than FRBs is repeating FRBs; only one has ever been found, via the massive Arecibo array in Puerto Rico.

The majority of the 13 FRBs were "scattering" which scientists believe could suggest their sources are powerful astrophysical objects. While these fast radio bursts (FRBs) are likely the result of black holes or strongly magnetized neutron stars, some say they could be evidence of far-flung alien life. Once CHIME is running at full capacity, it may discover many, many more FRBs-potentially thousands per day. "We have not solved the problem, but it's several more pieces in the puzzle". The telescope scans the northern sky daily.

The other institutions with leading roles are the University of Toronto, the National Research Council of Canada, and the Perimeter Institute. "Instead it uses digital signal processing to "point" the telescope and reconstruct where the radio waves are coming from", says Masui.

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