Karl G Jansky Large Array

Are We Getting Signals From Outer Space?

Fast Radio Burst

America has been ready to receive signals from outer space for decades, and finally, we have detected “fast radio bursts” (FRBs) according to our astronomers using two of the world’s largest telescopes.

The bursts, which come from a galaxy more than 3 billion light-years from Earth, repeated 16 times. These are the only known fast radio bursts that have repeated. Such signals have made world news and brought excitement to those who believe in the existence of life in the universe.

“It’s an observational breakthrough,”

says Neil Gehrels, an astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, who was not involved in the news Discovery. “We now have definitive proof” of their extragalactic nature, adds team member Jason Hessels of ASTRON, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy in Dwingeloo. Could that mean those extraterrestrials are attempting to communicate with us?

The Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array
The Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array. I Image courtesy of NRAO/AUI and NRAO

Incredibly, the FRBs left their galaxy when our entire Solar System was just two billion years’ old – long before multi-celled organisms appeared on Earth.  Mankind was not around yet, but were they expecting us to evolve enough to collect such data and understand it’s source by the time FRBs arrived on Earth?

Recent research debunks any notion of aliens attempting to contact Earth. The latest discoveries upend previous theories that the fast radio bursts (FRBs) were the result of explosive events, such as the smashing together of neutron stars.

Another possibility is that the black hole at the center of the galaxy is active, spewing out jets of particles at light speed. Every now and then, a blob of plasma may vaporize one of the jets, creating a bright flash. “We don’t really like this model very much, but it’s possible,” says Shami Chatterjee, an astronomer at Cornell University who discovered the repetition.

The detection of FRB 150215 marks the detection of 22 FRBs to date, none of which have identifiable sources, making them one of the great mysteries of space science. The mysterious nature of FRBs has led to a host of theories regarding their nature, from supernova to intelligent alien communications. I for one would like to think that someone out there is attempting to communicate with us on Earth and are possibly trying to tell us something.

 

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