If you were a Morse code clerk receiving messages and came across something that could not be random, you would think it was from humans, i.e. intelligent beings, right? Well, that is more or less what scientists received from outer space in radio bursts.
Mysterious radio bursts received on Earth from deep space were sent in dispersion measures that could not be random occurrences, scientists say, suggesting that they may have come from intelligent aliens.
Professor John Learned from the University of Hawaii said of the fast radio bursts (FRBs) “If the pattern is real … it is very, very hard to explain.”
Scientists would like to know where these fast radio bursts are coming from and what (or who) is sending them.
A radio telescope picked up an FRB last year for the first time since 2001. FRBs are extremely short radio bursts from supposedly billions of miles away in deep space, that last just a few milliseconds.
Astrophysicists have no idea where FRBs come from. Most suggest they originate from several billions of light years from here. However, they could originate much closer to home, they add.
Although extremely short in duration, each FRB has more energy that that released by our Sun in 24 hours.
FRB patterns cannot be natural
Scientists are unable to explain why FRBs appear in a pattern of numbers that seem to follow no laws of physics we know exist – unless they were sent out by an intelligent being.
In New South Wales, Australia, in Novebmer 2014, the CRISO Parkes Radio Telescope captured a ‘live’ FRB. On previous occasions FRBs had only been detected by astronomers several weeks or months after their equipment had picked them up.
Michael Hippke of the Institute for Data Analysis in Neukirchen-Vluyn, in Germany, Wilfried F. Domainko of the Max Planck Institutes, also in Germany, along with Professor Learned explained that the FRB signals had dispersion measures in multiples of precisely 187.5.
This means, they say, that the bursts are coming from sources many billions of light years from Earth at distances which are exactly spaced multiples of each other. They added that the signals might be coming from a much closer source.
Scientists suggest that perhaps FRBs may have come from distant stars or black holes. However, their apparently deliberate patterns also point to something intelligent creating them, many comment.
Hippke, Domainko and Learned wrote:
“We find that FRBs tend to arrive at close to the full integer second, like man-made perytons. If this holds, FRBs would also be man-made. This can be verified, or refuted, with new FRBs to be detected.”
Finding out where FRBs originate
Emily Petroff, a PhD student at Swindurne University, Melbourne, Australia, who observed the ‘live’ FRB in November 2014, said:
“These bursts were generally discovered weeks, months or even more than a decade after they happened. We are the first to catch one in real time.”
Scientists would love to know where in space these FRBs come from, Ms. Petroff said. Most of them estimate they originate from somewhere in space about 5.5 billion light years from Earth.
Ms. Petroff, who is sure we’ll soon find out, said “We’ve set the trap. Now we just have to wait for another burst to fall into it.”
Citation: Michael Hippke, Wilfried F. Domainko, John G. Learned. “Discrete steps in dispersion measures of Fast Radio Bursts.” ArXiv:1503.05245 [astro-ph.HE].
Video – Cosmic radio burst captured by Australian radio telescope