first time, scientists have detected a radio signal from outer space that
repeats at regular intervals.
of “fast radio bursts” – short-lived pulses of radio waves that come from
across the universe – were detected about once an hour for four days and then
stopped, only to start up again 12 days later.
repeated every 16.35 days for more than a year, according to a new paper about
originated from a galaxy about 500 million light-years away.
discovery of a 16.35-day periodicity in a repeating FRB source is an important
clue to the nature of this object,” the scientists said in the paper.
repeating pattern, reports Science X Network, “suggests the source could be a
celestial body of some kind orbiting around a star or another body. In such a scenario,
the signals would cease when they are obstructed by the other body”.
still does not explain how a celestial body could be sending out such signals
on a regular basis,” Science X said.
possibility is that stellar winds might be alternately boosting or blocking
signals from a body behind them. Or it could be that the source is a celestial
body that is rotating.”
likely to be aliens, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said in a
statement, because the signals are a sign of energetic events that are on the
extreme scale of the cosmos.
highly intelligent species would be very unlikely to produce energies like
this. And there is no detectable pattern so far that would suggest there’s a
sentient hand at play,” MIT said.
bursts last only a few milliseconds, which makes it difficult to accurately
determine where they have come from.
“One of the
greatest mysteries in astronomy right now is the origin of short, dramatic
bursts of radio light seen across the universe,” the Max Planck Institute for
Radio Astronomy said in a statement.
they last for only a thousandth of a second, there are now hundreds of records
of these enigmatic sources,” the institute said.
according to MIT, most of the radio bursts are “one-offs”, but a small number
are “repeaters” which recur in the same place.
The fast radio burst that repeats every 16 days was detected by the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment, a radio telescope designed and built by several groups of Canadian scientists to study space phenomena.
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