Scientists Announced That They Received Repeated Radio Signals From Galaxy 1.5 Billion Light Years Away


By Mayukh Saha

Radio signals have been repeatedly received from outer space by scientists. These bursts have only been repeated one other time and the second one only served to make the matter more mysterious and increased the possibility of us understanding who or what is sending these signals across from more than a billion light years distance to us.

Scientists have come up with many theories to explain these bursts, ranging from the explosion of a star to messages from extraterrestrial beings. However, the mystery has still not been solved and there aren’t many clues out there to point us to a source.

These signals are barely millisecond long but the energy it takes to fling them out so far is equal to how much energy the sun produces in the space of one year. Interestingly, the latest set of signals saw six repetitions and they all originated from one place. Though we’ve received over 60 such signals, seeing repetition is very rare.

According to Ingrid Stairs, an astrophysicist at UBC who is also part of the CHIME team, they’d only ever picked up one repetitive signal before this and the existence of another could mean that there is more to come. The more they receive and the more sources they can locate, the easier it will be to solve questions as to the purpose and origin of these signals. The scientists working on these signals asserted this in the information released in Nature.

Receiving these repeating signals also means that researchers can work on understanding why they are different from the signals that don’t repeat. This, in turn, will lead them to more information about where they are from and will help them intercept any more that might come.

The scientists received around a dozen signals over a span of 21 days. These bursts have opened up a veritable mountain of information and now the team is working as hard as possible to find the source. Putting all the information together might point them towards the answers they need about the wholly unique atmosphere these signals may be coming from and the kind of tech needed by extraterrestrials (if they do exist) to send these signals across billions of light years.

According to Arun Naidu of McGill University, who is also a part of the team, while the question of the source is very interesting, it is also worth noting that the range of frequencies received so far has been very wide. Many devices can’t emit frequencies lower than a certain range.

These bursts were received by the team working as part of Canada’s Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment located in British Columbia. Researches fear that given the wide range, their instruments might not be able to detect some signals that are much below the range they are programmed to work with. Even with this fear, they were able to get more information than they thought they would.

Over a dozen bursts were detected and the lowest frequency was 400 MHz. Seven bursts were detected at this frequency. This indicates the possibility of there being bursts which are below the range capable of being detected by their equipment.

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Tom Landecker, a member of CHIME who belongs to the National Research Council of Canada, has revealed that whatever the sources are, they can emit these signals at low frequencies and those which escape their atmosphere don’t scatter too widely so scientists are able to pick up on them. This offers information about the kind of atmosphere they’re coming from but there are many more questions that are yet to be answered.

IMAGE CREDIT1: solarseven

IMAGE CREDIT2: Sebastien Decoret

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