Ten times in the past fifteen years, fast bursts of ‘tightly banded’ radio waves flashing across space have been recorded. All but one were discovered after the fact however, last year Emily Petroff of Swinburne University in Melbourne, Australia witnessed an FRB [labeled FRB 140514] in real-time using the Parkes Telescope in New South Wales, Australia. About a millisecond in duration, these waves give off as much energy as an entire day’s worth of sun.
These signals or fast radio bursts (FRBs), have thus-far inexplicable details and are said to be mathematical in nature. They currently have no known origin; whether man made, nature made or extraterrestrial in nature. According to a new report in New Scientist,
Michael Hippke of the Institute for Data Analysis in Neukirchen-Vluyn, Germany, and John Learned at the University of Hawaii in Manoa found that all 10 bursts’ dispersion measures are multiples of a single number: 187.5 (see chart). This neat line-up, if taken at face value, would imply five sources for the bursts all at regularly spaced distances from Earth, billions of light-years away. A more likely explanation, Hippke and Lerned say, is that the FRBs all come from somewhere much closer to home, from a group of objects within the Milky Way that naturally emit shorter-frequency radio waves after higher-frequency ones, with a delay that is a multiple of 187.5 (arxiv.org/abs/1503.05245).
They claim there is a 5 in 10,000 probability that the line-up is coincidence. “If the pattern is real,” says Learned, “it is very, very hard to explain.”
… fast radio burst is definitely not the easiest message aliens could send. As Maura McLaughlin of West Virginia University, who was part of the first FRB discovery points out, it takes a lot of energy to make a signal that spreads across lots of frequencies, instead of just a narrow one like a radio station. And if the bursts come from outside the galaxy, they would have to be incredibly energetic to get this far.
We have gone, in less than two-decades, from believing we were the only solar system and galaxy in the so-called, ‘Universe’, to knowing how very untrue and ignorant such a belief was. In that same fifteen-year time-frame, technological advances on Earth have grown far beyond mere leaps and bounds. Pair that with population and usage and it makes sense to ask, is there a correlation between these fast radio bursts and our own growing technology or did E.T. phone home?
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