It was 2007 when Australia’s Parkes telescope first picked up a mysterious radio wave from space.
Scientists were left befuddled. Since then, there have been 17 similar occurrences, and each time scientists still hadn’t a clue why, according to a report in The Independent.
They call the signals, which last a millisecond or less, Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs).
Speculation ensued. Could it be aliens? That’d certainly be the most sensational explanation.
But they also could have emanated from a giant star or even a black hole, which would be more rational though pretty sensational on its own.
After one of the bursts was repeated for six months, scientists were able to do a prolonged study to determine that they seem to be coming from a faint dwarf galaxy more than 3 billion light years away.
“Before we knew the distance to any FRBs, several proposed explanations for their origins said they could be coming from within or near our own Milky Way galaxy,” Dr. Shriharsh Tendulkar, a member of the team from McGill University in Montreal, told The Independent. “We now have ruled out those explanations, at least for this FRB.”
In addition to the FBRs that have long mystified scientists, there appears to be a related “stream of ongoing, persistent weaker radio emissions.” Scientists found that the two sources of emissions aren’t more than 100 light years apart.
“We think that the bursts and the continuous source are likely to be either the same object or that they are somehow physically associated with each other,” said Dr. Benito Marcote, from the Joint Institute for VLBI (Very Long Baseline Interferometry) in Dwingeloo, the Netherlands.