6 More Mysterious Radio Signals Have Been Detected Coming From Outside Our Galaxy
They're all coming from the one place.
FIONA MACDONALD 24 DEC 2016
Back in March, scientists detected 10 powerful bursts of radio signals coming from the same location in space. And now researchers have just picked up six more of the signals seemingly emanating from the same region, far beyond our Milky Way.
These fast radio bursts (FRB) are some of the most elusive and explosive signals ever detected from space - they only last milliseconds, but in that short period of time, they generate as much energy as the Sun in an entire day. But despite how powerful they are, scientists still aren't sure what causes them.
Until the detection of the 10 repeating signals back in March, it was thought that the bursts were only ever one-off events, coming from random locations around space. And without a discernible pattern to them, researchers were left stumped as to what could be causing them.
The reason we're so in the dark about FRB isn't that they're that uncommon - researchers have estimated that there are around 2,000 of these FRBs......
Mysterious cosmic radio blasts traced to surprising source
Repeating bursts come from a faint, distant dwarf galaxy.
Alexandra Witze 04 January 2017
Astronomers have pinpointed the location of an enigmatic celestial object that spits out brief, but powerful, blasts of radio waves. Surprisingly, the source of these intermittent signals lies not in a bright galaxy but in a small, dim one, some 2.5 billion light-years from Earth.
The discovery begins to lift the curtain on the mystery of fast radio bursts, which have puzzled astronomers since they first described the signals in 2007. “This detection has really broken open the gates of a new realm of science and discovery,” says Sarah Burke-Spolaor, an astronomer at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Socorro, New Mexico, and West Virginia University in Morgantown. She spoke in Grapevine, Texas, at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society.
Fast radio bursts appear to come from beyond the Milky Way and crop up seemingly at random across the sky. Although they last just milliseconds, the radio blasts can emit as much power as 500 million Suns.
The bursts were first spotted by the Parkes radio telescope in New South Wales, Australia, and fewer than 20 have been found so far. Most were discovered in wide-field searches that cannot pinpoint exactly where they come from — which makes it harder for astronomers to winnow down possible explanations for what causes them. A puny host The latest work, published on 4 January in Nature, is the sharpest look yet at the home of a fast radio burst known as FRB 121102. Located in the constellation Auriga, the intermittent signal was first detected on 2 November 2012. Since then, it has flared up several times, making it the only fast radio burst known to repeat.
A team led by Shami Chatterjee, an astronomer at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, began with the 305-metre-wide Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico. Its sensitivity allowed the scientists to detect multiple bursts from FRB 121102. The team then used two sets of radio telescopes — the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array in New Mexico, and the European VLBI Network across Europe — to narrow down the location of FRB 121102 even further.
The bursts originate from a dwarf galaxy that emits faint radiation in both radio and visual wavelengths. Follow-up observations with the Gemini North telescope, on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, showed that it is less than one-tenth the size and has less than one-thousandth the mass of the Milky Way.
”The host galaxy is puny,” says team member Shriharsh Tendulkar, an astronomer at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. “That's weird.” With fewer stars than many galaxies, dwarf galaxies would seem to have less of a chance of hosting whatever creates fast radio bursts. That would include neutron stars, one of the leading candidates for the source of fast radio bursts.
But much more work is needed to pin down the physical mechanism of what causes these mysterious bursts, says Chatterjee. For now, FRB 121102 is just one example.
That need could be filled later this year when a new radio telescope comes online in British Columbia, Canada, dedicated to hunting fast radio bursts.
We examine the possibility that fast radio bursts (FRBs) originate from the activity of extragalactic civilizations. Our analysis shows that beams used for powering large light sails could yield parameters that are consistent with FRBs. The characteristic diameter of the beam emitter is estimated through a combination of energetic and engineering constraints, and both approaches intriguingly yield a similar result that is on the scale of a large rocky planet. Moreover, the optimal frequency for powering the light sail is shown to be similar to the detected FRB frequencies. These "coincidences" lend some credence to the possibility that FRBs might be artificial in origin. Other relevant quantities, such as the characteristic mass of the light sail, and the angular velocity of the beam, are also derived. By using the FRB occurrence rate, we infer upper bounds on the rate of FRBs from extragalactic civilizations in a typical galaxy. The possibility of detecting fainter signals is briefly discussed, and the wait time for an exceptionally bright FRB event in the Milky Way is estimated.
Fast Radio Bursts Aren't Aliens, But It's An Interesting Idea
bob Koberlein , March 13, 2017
Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) are short, intense pulses of radio energy that originate billions of light years away. They have incredibly intense energies, but last for only milliseconds, so it isn't clear what could possibly cause them. Ideas include a neutron star collapsing into a black hole, the collision of two neutron stars, and even an evaporating black hole. Another idea that makes the rounds is that they are produced by an advanced alien civilization.
One idea is that perhaps FRBs are used as some kind of intergalactic navigation beacons, similar to the way we could use pulsars to navigate our galaxy. A more recent idea is that they could be created by an aliens to send space probes to distant stars, similar to Breakthrough Starshot's idea to use lasers to send a tiny probe to Proxima Centauri. Going directly from “we don’t know” to “therefore aliens” is the realm of science fiction not science, but team of astronomers recently did a bit more than wild speculation. They asked whether it was conceivably possible for such powerful signals to be created artificially.
In the recent paper, they noted that FRBs have characteristics similar to the types of energy beams that could be used to power large light sails. If FRBs are, in fact, being used to power starships, then they would likely be a long lasting beam of energy directed at the starship. We would see them as a short burst because beam would sweep past us as the transmitter and starship line up just the right way. Calculating the energy requirements for such a beam, the team found that a solar powered array about twice the diameter of Earth could collect enough power to create it, and a water-cooled system orbiting a star could transmit the beam without overheating. In principle, at least, alien FRBs appear to be simply a matter of powerful engineering and not exotic physics.
The team went further and estimated the size of a starship that such a beam could power. Rough calculations put the upper size at about a billion tons, or the mass of about 20 cruise ships. For humans that would mean about 40,000 passengers or so, which is plenty large enough to start a colony on another star system. Given that the alien civilization would be capable of making planet-sized power transmitters, you might figure they would have mastered other things like cryogenic freezing or the ability to clone new members of the species once their destination is reached.
This all sounds like wild science fiction, and it's almost certainly not true. But the team does point some things worth exploring further. Given the number of FRBs we observe, they probably wouldn't all be caused by alien civilizations. So there would likely be some key signature differences between natural and alien FRBs. In particular, we now know that some FRBs repeat, which means these particular ones can't be caused by cataclysmic events such as neutron star mergers. Alien FRBs could repeat, since the orbit of the transmitter could bring it back into alignment with Earth periodically. By studying FRBs that repeat, we might be able to see some kind of pattern that points to an artificial source.
There's a long history of strange astronomical phenomena that seem alien at first, but turn out to be natural after all. FRBs will likely turn out to be natural as well. But it can be worthwhile to cautiously speculate about alien signals. After all, there are a lot of planets out there, and the existence of alien civilizations isn't beyond the realm of possibility.
bob Koberlein is an astrophysicist, professor and author. You can find more of his writing at One Universe at a Time.
Fast Radio Bursts Recently Detected By Astronomers Include Strongest In Over A Decade
FRB 180309's signal-to-noise ratio stood out for being more than four times more powerful than that of the second-strongest fast radio burst on record.
Astronomers discovered three new fast radio burst signals earlier this month, with one of these signals standing out as the strongest one ever recorded.
According to Science Alert, the record-breaking fast radio burst (FRB) had the highest signal-to-noise ratio since the first of its kind was spotted in 2007, making it the “brightest” in history. This signal, codenamed FRB 180309, was observed on March 9, right in the middle of FRB 180301 and FRB 180311, which were reported on March 1 and March 11 respectively, and likewise named after the date they were discovered. All three signals were spotted by the Parkes Observatory radio telescope in New South Wales, Australia.
Although the first-ever fast radio burst took place in 2001, it was only in 2007 when the peculiar phenomenon was first documented, according to RT. In the 11 years since then, FRBs have been recorded from 33 sources, including the three bursts that were observed earlier this month. Keeping in mind the average of slightly less than three FRBs observed per year from 2007 to 2018, the fact that three signals were picked up is noteworthy.
FRB 180309, however, especially piqued the interest of scientists, as its signal-to-noise ratio came in at 411, or more than four times than the strongest FRB prior to that, which had a ratio of only 90. RT wrote that several of the other bursts on record had ratios below 20, further underscoring the strength of the second newest signal.
Typically, fast radio bursts are onetime events that do not get repeated, but there has been one exception to the rule thus far. On November 2, 2012, FRB 121102 became the first and only such signal so far to repeat itself. Each FRB lasts only a few milliseconds, and occurs abruptly without any advance warning, thus making them “impossible to predict,” as pointed out by Science Alert.
Meanwhile, scientists remain baffled by the source of fast radio bursts, as they also try to determine the reason why such events take place. Earlier this month, Gizmodo Australia reported on a “wild” new theory that suggested FRBs are used by alien life forms to power their spaceships, but as Danny Price of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence said shortly after that report, the most plausible theories still revolve around cataclysmic events such as the collision of black holes or neutron stars.
A 2nd repeating radio burst from the depths of space
By Paul Scott Anderson in SPACE | January 14, 2019
Of the more than 60 Fast Radio Bursts found so far, only one has ever been seen to repeat from the same source … until now.
Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) are one of the most puzzling astrophysical discoveries in recent years. They are powerful but brief pulses of radio waves that seem to originate from galaxies billions of light-years away. Scientists don’t yet know what causes them, but they are finding more clues as they continue to investigate them. One oddity has been that of the more than 60 FRBs found so far, only one has ever been seen to repeat from the same source – until now.
Scientists in Canada detected a second repeating FRB using the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) radio telescope in the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia. It was reported by McGill University on January 9, 2019. The new findings were also published in two peer-reviewed papers in Nature on January 9 and presented at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Seattle on the same day.
The repeating FRB is one of 13 observed by CHIME over a period of three weeks during the summer of 2018. Additional FRBs were then found in the weeks following.
The detection of another repeating FRB is exciting since they seem to be relatively rare among FRBs in general. The first one was observed by the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico in 2015. According to Ingrid Stairs, a member of the CHIME team and an astrophysicist at the University of British Columbia (UBC):
"Until now, there was only one known repeating FRB. Knowing that there is another suggests that there could be more out there. And with more repeaters and more sources available for study, we may be able to understand these cosmic puzzles – where they’re from and what causes them."
The detections by CHIME were a bit surprising – most FRBs found before were at a frequency close to 1400 megahertz (MHz), while the telescope’s observations were in the range of 400-800 MHz. But most of the first 13 new bursts were indeed lower in frequency, right down to the lowest frequencies that CHIME was able to detect. The scientists think that additional FRBs might be found that are even lower than the 400 MHz minimum.
So what do the new results mean?
Whatever the cause of FRBs is, it is something not seen before. Theories have ranged from exotic phenomena involving neutron stars or black holes to even – yes – aliens. As noted by Arun Naidu of McGill University:
"Whatever the source of these radio waves is, it’s interesting to see how wide a range of frequencies it can produce. There are some models where intrinsically the source can’t produce anything below a certain frequency."
The first FRB – dubbed FRB 121102 – was discovered in 2007 by Duncan Lorimer and his student David Narkevic when they were looking through archival pulsar survey data.
As Tom Landecker, a CHIME team member from the National Research Council of Canada, added:
"[We now know] the sources can produce low-frequency radio waves and those low-frequency waves can escape their environment, and are not too scattered to be detected by the time they reach the Earth. That tells us something about the environments and the sources. We haven’t solved the problem, but it’s several more pieces in the puzzle."
According to Kendrick Smith, a cosmologist at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario:
"FRBs were an unexpected mystery. There aren’t so many qualitative mysteries in astrophysics. So explaining their nature has become one of the biggest unsolved problems in astrophysics in the last few years."
CHIME is a unique radio telescope, designed and built by Canadian astronomers, explained Smith:
"CHIME reconstructs the image of the overhead sky by processing the radio signals recorded by thousands of antennas with a large signal processing system. CHIME’s signal processing system is the largest of any telescope on Earth, allowing it to search huge regions of the sky simultaneously."
Most astronomers are reasonably confident that a natural explanation will be found since FRBs have characteristics that make an intelligent source difficult. One problem, as explained by Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at the SETI Institute, is that they appear to come from all over the sky, from galaxies separated by billions of light-years:
"But you can safely bet that aliens are not the cause of FRBs. Why? The bursters are seen all over the sky, that’s why. The same sort of signal is coming from galaxies that are generally separated by billions of light-years. So how could aliens organize so much of the universe to engage in broadcasting the same sort of signal? There’s hardly been enough time since the Big Bang to coordinate such widespread teamwork, even if you can think of a reason for it!"
It would be hard to fathom how aliens could coordinate such powerful radio blasts over such immense distances, but who knows? Occam’s razor would suggest that FRBs are most likely natural in origin – but determining just what is causing them will require continued observations.
Bottom line: FRBs are an exotic phenomenon, regardless of what specifically causes them, and thanks to new observations from telescopes like CHIME, scientists are another step closer to solving this fascinating mystery.
Had a dream/vision...of a formation of 'ships' ...guessing they were ships but they came across as moving lights...moving through space..some in formation some a bit straggling...there must have been at least ten of them...one of those times when we were 'experimenting' here with collective 'seeing'. I'm not sure if I mentioned it at the time or not.. at any rate...radio signals wouldn't surprise me in the least...except that...we seem to already have plenty of visitors to our neighbor-hood..who would be bothering to signal...or could the signal be a prelude to something else?
casper: I'm back again!!! Maybe this time my computer won't die like it did the last time.
Apr 29, 2018 19:36:04 GMT -6
casper: Skywalker just fixed it. You know what that means. It's doomed.
Apr 29, 2018 19:36:53 GMT -6
skywalker: Very funny, ghost boy
Jun 3, 2018 14:58:58 GMT -6
lois: Casper he should come fix mine. Mine is doomed
Jun 26, 2018 21:54:27 GMT -6
spotless38: Iam back after a long break . What a couple of years I had . After what had happened I lost my brother and had to bury him and then I had caught that type A flue and I was a very sick puppy I also needed blood for the loss of it .
Jul 7, 2018 13:30:41 GMT -6
lois: Very Happy to see you Ron. Missed you. Glad you are doing better now. Sorry for your lost. I did not know your brother had passed. hugs lois
Jul 10, 2018 0:52:45 GMT -6
paulette: Ron - hope you've hit a quiet spot. Sorry for your loss.
Aug 3, 2018 10:49:30 GMT -6
lois: I picked up my phone a few days ago and I looked at the name of the caller. Boy was I surprise. It has been a couple of years. So good to hear your voice Ron. Hope you make it a habit again. love and hugs .
Aug 15, 2018 23:21:38 GMT -6
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Aug 31, 2018 2:08:32 GMT -6
jcurio: I am much relieved to see that you have been on here, Spotless! I hope that things are going much better for you now
Sept 19, 2018 16:46:42 GMT -6
jcurio: And Lois, And Lorelei!
Sept 19, 2018 16:47:07 GMT -6
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Oct 16, 2018 18:41:31 GMT -6
lois: Sorry guys I cannot see the print. On is tiny hand computer
Oct 21, 2018 20:42:09 GMT -6
lois: Casper your page stops at page five in 2016
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lois: How did your Halloween night go this year?
Nov 15, 2018 23:54:58 GMT -6
skywalker: He posted on the Halloween thread this year.
Nov 25, 2018 18:33:36 GMT -6
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Dec 21, 2018 21:45:31 GMT -6
lois: What topic was it under.
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