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Scientists Pick Up Mysterious, Powerful Signals From Deep Space

Aug 05, 2018 11:14 PM EDT
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A strange, sudden burst of radio waves has been picked up by Canada's new, state-of-the-art radio telescope — and it is throwing scientists for a loop.

No one knows what this mysterious signal is, where it came from, or why it suddenly crossed Earth's radar. It was recorded at an extremely rare frequency, increasing the mystique over this odd force.

CHIME Detects Lowest Ever Frequency

Plenty of invisible light is shooting across the universe, but most of it is recognizable to scientists, such as signals from dying stars, black holes, magnetic fields, and the like, Live Science notes.

On the other hand, there are occasional Fast Radio Bursts with tantalizingly unknown origins. These types of signals are suggested to come from galaxies that are billions of light-years away from Earth.

According to the Astronomer's Telegram, the mysterious force that was picked up on July 25 marked the lowest frequency Fast Radio Burst ever recorded.

"The event is clearly detected at frequencies as low as 580 MHz and represents the first detection of an FRB at radio frequencies below 700 MHz," Patrick Boyle wrote in the report.

Dubbed the FRB 180725A, it only lasted a couple of milliseconds and was caught by the year-old Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment or CHIME. Boyle adds that odd event did not correlate with any known activities or other known sources.

Could It Be Aliens?

FRBs are seldom detected from Earth, so research on these rapid events are few and going slow. After all, only around 40 have been picked up since the first one in 2007. For now, these occurrences largely remain a mystery.

Due to the unknown origins of FRBs, it has attracted the curiosity and scrutiny of alien hunters. Even scientists can't entirely write it off.

"An artificial origin is worth contemplating and checking," Avi Loeb, a theorist from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, says about FRBs in a statement in 2017.

However, Christopher Conselice, an astrophysics professor from the University of Nottingham, points out to Daily Mail that FRBs likely occur much more regularly than Earth is able to detect, adding that thousands could be making its way to the planet every day.

With technology becoming more advanced and telescopes more sensitive, an increasing number of FRBs could begin to crop up. More detections could lead to scientists gaining a better understanding of the phenomenon.

As far-fetched as the prospect seems, it might even actually indicate life.

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