Is there someone out there trying to communicate with Earth? No one knows what causes these powerful signals, but some people have speculated that they could be transmitted by distant alien civilizations. In fact, astronomers are so perplexed by this phenomenon that it has created a sort of renaissance of radio astronomy.
According to latest reports, the hunt for the enigmatic ‘fast radio bursts’ –which are basically extremely short but very intense pulses of radio waves from outer space— has heated up like never before.
So far experts are unsure as to what exactly causes the mystery bursts, but there are some researchers who believe that these enigmatic signals could have been sent out by an advanced alien civilization from elsewhere in the cosmos.
In order to find out whether or not we are being contacted by ET, an international group of astronomers has worked very hard, and they have come across the BRIGHTEST and FASTEST radio burst ever, and say they are close to finding out where exactly it came from.
Knowing where exactly the FBR is coming from can help astronomers understand what is causing them.
Aliens, however, aren’t the only option.
Despite being very intensive the exact nature and origin of the fast radio bursts are highly debated among astronomers.
Some believe that these intense flashes are in fact flares produced in the atmospheres of stars located within our Milky Way Galaxy. Basically solar flares.
Others suggest that the signals are produced by cosmic collision such as a neutron star colliding with a black hole somewhere in the universe, while some have speculated that these signals may have been produced by our alien neighbors.
“During the millisecond that we saw the burst, it would have been in the top 10 brightest sources in the entire sky,” said astrophysicist Dr. Ryan Shannon of the CSIRO. “In total, 18 fast radio bursts have been detected so far, and if we could observe the whole sky we would expect see between 2,000 and 10,000 a day,” added Dr. Shannon.
To get to the bottom of one of the greatest astronomical mysteries, an international group of astronomers discovered FRB 150807. The burst of radio waves lasted LESS than HALF A MILLISECOND.
Now, a study published in Science has gotten extremely close to pinpointing its exact origin.
FRB 150807 is notable for its short duration, the brightness of its radio waves and its high degree of linear “polarization”, a property that describes the plane of the vibrations that make up the waves. By combining these properties, the new study indicates that the explosion occurred in a galaxy that is more than a billion light-years away, identified by the astronomical visible and infrared spectrum (VISTA) ). This is the most approximate calculation to date to determine where the radio wave explosion comes from.
The polarization of light is affected by the surrounding magnetic fields. This fact helped researchers calculate the magnetic properties of the plasma through which the radio waves traveled. Their analysis indicates that there is a very small degree of magnetization of the plasma near the site of the signal.
Interestingly, if this is correct, it would discard heavily magnetized objects such as neutron stars, magnetars, or other objects that cause it, which are basically the models favored to date by astronomers.