Repetitive Radio Signal from Deep Space Reached Earth

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( — January 12, 2019) — A Canadian radio telescope captured what appears to be a repetitive high speed radio flash of exceptional power from another Galaxy, BBC reports.

Scientists say the signal, which originated from beyond the Milky Way could help solve the mystery of deep space radio signals that reach our home planet.

The radio signal proves that there is more to the universe than just planets with rings, great spiral galaxies and colorful planetary nebulae. Outside the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum, our cosmos is full of chaotic radio signals and micro-waves, whose sources are black holes, dying stars, solar flashes, and countless other bizarre cosmic phenomena. Many of them find their way to Earth.

The Canadian team of researchers has just detected such a phenomenon. This is not the first time we have to deal with extremely powerful and short-lived radio signals whose sources probably lay far beyond our galaxy. The interesting part though is that this time it is a repeating signal, almost as if it was manufactured. …and in a way it was, but not by another civilization. Scientists say the repetitive signal comes from a “pulsar”- a highly magnetized rotating neutron star that emits a beam of electromagnetic radiation.

The role of Pulsars in the universe is unknown but scientists hope that the captured radio signals could explain this phenomenon in the near future.

The same phenomenon was recorded only once before by the Canadian space exploration marvel: the Radio-telescope CHIME (Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment), located in the mountains of British Columbia which recorded a total of 13 quick radio flashes, including a new repeater.

The new data increases the known population of these signals to around 40.

“The fact that we know there is another repeating signal suggests that there may be more,” said Ingrid Stairs, an astrophysicist at the University of British Columbia, and a team member who made the discovery. “And with more repeaters and more sources available for study, we may be able to understand these cosmic puzzles – from where they come from and what causes them,” she said.

As spectacular as they were, these phenomena are rather confusing for scientists who tried to explain them by merging neutron stars, black holes, and extraterrestrial technology. However, astronomers this time do not favor aliens as a mystery solution. The more frequent it is, the more likely it is to be natural.

The current repeat signal, captured by CHIME is marked as FRB 180814.J0422 + 73. Scientists believe it traveled multi-billion light years until discovered in our galaxy. By comparison, our galaxy, the Milky Way, has a diameter of about 100,000 light-years.

On January 9, two scientific studies on the analysis of newly collected data were published in the science Nature journal. Unlike previously captured flashes, which were recorded on a radio frequency of about 1400 megahertz, the new signals recorded by CHIME are much lower, at frequencies between 400 and 800 MHz that last in milliseconds.

These provided a significant insight into both the environment from which they came, and to potential sources. A long-term goal is the use of multiple pulsars in the direct detection of gravitational waves and understanding more of the universe and its origin.