Are aliens contacting us? Six Fast Radio Bursts coming from the constellation Auriga, three billion light years from Earth, have people across the world including scientists excited about that possibility. Each radio burst lasts just a few milliseconds and nobody so far knows what created them.
One of the explanations for the enigmatic radio bursts is that a highly-advanced alien civilization is trying to contact us.
Paul Scholz, a Graduate Student at the Department of Physics at McGill University, Montreal, Canada, and colleagues from Canada, Germany, The Netherlands, the USA, and South Africa explained in The Astrophysical Journal (citation below) that they detected the Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) using the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico and the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia.
If the FRB came from 3 billion light years away from an alien civilization, they may have become extinct a very long time ago. Even if we could eventually prove that the outburst came from smart extraterrestrials, it would take three billion years for them to receive our response.
The authors wrote:
“We have detected six additional radio bursts from this source: five with the Green Bank Telescope at 2 GHz, and one at 1.4 GHz with the Arecibo Observatory, for a total of 17 bursts from this source.”
Apart from the exciting possibility – aliens contacting us – scientists say these short radio bursts could be caused by flares from a young neutron star – a small (30km across), celestial object with a very high density composed mainly of packed neutrons. Neutron stars consist of the dense core left behind when stars explode.
What is a Fast Radio Burst
A Fast Radio Burst or FRB is a high-energy astrophysical phenomenon characterized by a transient radio pulse that lasts just a few milliseconds (thousandths of a second).
These bright, broadband, millisecond flashes are found outside of the Milky Way in various regions of the visible Universe. Nobody knows what their source is.
Prof. Hawking is not the only scientist who wonders whether making contact with intelligent aliens is a good idea. (Image: hawking.org.uk)
The component frequencies of each FRB are delayed by different lengths of time, depending on the wavelength.
Some scientists suggest that FRBs are extra-galactic because of the unusually high value of pule dispersion observed. Millions of alien enthusiasts across the world – and a fair number of respected scientists – wonder whether these radio bursts mean that aliens are contacting Earth.
The Fast Radio Bursts came from a location in space we call FRB 121102. From this location we have so far detected a total of 11 outbursts. It is the only area of space, as far as we are concerned, that has emitted several FRBs.
Scientists say that the repeated emissions suggest that whatever is causing them is not a one-off event, such as a collision or massive explosion.
The authors wrote:
“‘Whether FRB 121102 is a unique object in the currently known sample of FRBs, or all FRBs are capable of repeating, its characterization is extremely important to understanding fast extragalactic radio transients.”
The Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico detected some of the Fast Radio Bursts. It is the sole facility of the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center (NAIC). (Image: naic.edu)
Are aliens contacting us?
Are aliens contacting us? Is that a good thing? Some scientists say it is, while others are not so sure.
Eminent theoretical physicists Stephen Hawking fears what might happen if we meet some super-intelligent extraterrestrials.
Prof. Hawking said he would love to meet smart aliens and ask an infinity of questions about the Universe. However, he wonders whether they might end up destroying us.
Prof. Hawking said:
“If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn’t turn out well for the Native Americans.”
The Green Bank Telescope, which also detected some of the FRBs, is the largest fully-steerable radio telescope on Earth. It was named after Senator Robert C. Byrd (1917-2010), who represented West Virginia and vigorously pushed the funding of the telescope through Congress. (Image: Wikipedia)
Dr. Jill Tarter, who works at the SETI Institute, says that if smart aliens contact or visit us, they will decide whether we suffer or benefit upon their arrival – it will be up to them, no us, whether we are their friends, made their slaves, pets, or are experimeted on. They will call the shots, not us.
In a TechCrunch interview, Dr. Tarter said:
“If they showed up on our doorstep, that means they have technologies that are considerably advanced with respect to ours. And because of that, they’re going to be the ones that set the rules.”
Citation: “THE REPEATING FAST RADIO BURST FRB 121102: MULTI-WAVELENGTH OBSERVATIONS AND ADDITIONAL BURSTS,” P. Scholz, L. G. Spitler, J. W. T. Hessels, S. Chatterjee, J. M. Cordes, V. M. Kaspi, R. S. Wharton, C. G. Bassa, S. Bogdanov, and F. Camilo. The Astrophysical Journal. December 16, 2016. DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/833/2/177.
Are aliens contacting us?
Six new Short Radio Bursts that were recently detected in deep space have alien enthusiasts all over the world excited about the possibility that smart extraterrestrials are trying to contact us.