Something out there Is Sending Signals

A mysterious radio source located in a galaxy 500 million light years from Earth is pulsing on a 16-day cycle, like clockwork, according to a new study. This marks the first time that scientists have ever detected periodicity in these signals, which are known as fast radio bursts (FRBs), and is a major step toward unmasking their sources.

FRBs are one of the most tantalizing puzzles that the universe has thrown at scientists in recent years. First spotted in 2007, these powerful radio bursts are produced by energetic sources, though nobody is sure what those might be. FRBs are also mystifying because they can be either one-offs or “repeaters,” meaning some bursts appear only once in a certain part of the sky, while others emit multiple flashes to Earth…

“We conclude that this is the first detected periodicity of any kind in an FRB source,” the [Canadian] team said in a paper published on the preprint server arXiv in late January. “The discovery of a 16.35-day periodicity in a repeating FRB source is an important clue to the nature of this object.”…

But while we know where it is, we still don’t know what it is.

Reflect on how little our species has advanced. If the signal is artificially produced, I don’t believe we can reproduce it and return the call. That’s OK. The answer to that is “not yet”. Bring in a True Believer and they can pray to it. Bring in a traditional American politician and they will begin to plan how to kill it.

13 thoughts on “Something out there Is Sending Signals

  1. Eavesdropper says:

    “Did Earth Receive a Radio Transmission From Proxima Centauri?” (Jan 20, 2021)
    “The radio signal that has stirred up so much excitement was detected during observations of flares erupting from the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri, the smallest member of the triple Alpha Centauri system. At a distance of only 4.25 light years, Proxima Centauri is a stone’s throw away, astronomically speaking.
    The signal was concentrated in a very narrow slice of the radio frequency spectrum, at 982 megahertz, which is typical of an artificial transmission. Signals from natural sources contain a wider mix of frequencies. Researchers listen for exactly this kind of narrow signal as they monitor star systems for any of non-natural, non-human origin.”

  2. TMA-1 says:

    “Scientists Have Discovered a New Pattern In a Repeating Signal from Space” (March 22, 2021)
    “…This unprecedented analysis revealed a newly observed “microstructure,” or a pattern of variable brightness, revealing that the new technique “can unveil clues into [FRB] emission physics,” according to a study published on Monday in Nature Astronomy.”
    See also “Highly polarized microstructure from the repeating FRB 20180916B”

  3. Update says:

    A team led by McGill University researchers and members of Canada’s CHIME Fast Radio Burst collaboration has established that FRBs include radio waves at frequencies lower than ever detected before, a discovery that redraws the boundaries for theoretical astrophysicists trying to put their finger on the source of FRBs.

    FRB 20180916B Bursts Back Onto the Scene at the Lowest Frequencies to Date (Jan 20, 2021)

  4. Hitchhiker's guide says:

    “Something Unexplained Is Sending Radio Signals From Our Galaxy’s Center : The newly discovered signals flash for weeks at a time and can stop in just a day, a pattern that has no clear explanation.”
    “The mysterious source, known as ASKAP J173608.2−321635, “may represent part of a new class of objects being discovered through radio imaging surveys,” according to a forthcoming study in The Astrophysical Journal, which has been posted to the preprint server arXiv.”
    The mysterious source, a highly-polarized, highly-variable, steep-spectrum radio source, ASKAP J173608.2-321635, located ∼4\,deg from the Galactic center in the Galactic plane, “may represent part of a new class of objects being discovered through radio imaging surveys,” according to a forthcoming study in The Astrophysical Journal

  5. Cue Theremin says:

    ASKAP J173608.2-321635 update
    “Astronomers discover ‘extraordinary’ unknown radio signal from heart of Milky Way
    What buzzed Earth from the center of the galaxy? Scientists are trying to work that out.”
    The detection of the signal appears in the Astrophysical Journal on Oct. 12. It was first published as a preprint on arXiv in September. See
    “…It exhibits a range of characteristics that make it highly unusual and unlike other radio sources from the depths of the Milky Way.”

  6. More zizzing says:

    “…Much less than 1% of sources are circularly polarized,” says Ziteng Wang, a doctoral student at the University of Sydney, Australia and first author on the study, adding “usually polarized sources are associated with magnetic fields.”

    “Circular polarization is a limiting case of elliptical polarization. The other special case is the easier-to-understand linear polarization.
    The phenomenon of polarization arises as a consequence of the fact that light behaves as a two-dimensional transverse wave.
    Circular polarization occurs when the two orthogonal electric field component vectors are of equal magnitude and are out of phase by exactly 90°, or one-quarter wavelength.”

  7. Spoiler says:

    “That Exciting Signal Thought to Be From Proxima Centauri Has Now Been Resolved”
    “We can confidently say that blc1 is consistent with human radio frequency interference from some sort of ground-based technology,” Sheikh, a co-author of two new studies on blc1 published in Nature Astronomy, told The Daily Beast. “While of course we would love to find evidence of extraterrestrial life someday, the process of investigating blc1 was extremely scientifically valuable in its own right.”

  8. GLEAM-X J162759.5-523504 says:

    “Mysterious object unlike anything astronomers have seen before”
    “This object was appearing and disappearing over a few hours during our observations,” said lead study author Natasha Hurley-Walker, an astrophysicist from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research in Western Australia. “That was completely unexpected. It was kind of spooky for an astronomer because there’s nothing known in the sky that does that. And it’s really quite close to us — about 4,000 light-years away. It’s in our galactic backyard.”
    Nature: “A radio transient with unusually slow periodic emission”
    “This object in space flashed brilliantly for 3 months, then disappeared. Astronomers are intrigued”

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