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Is This ET? Mystery of Strange Radio Bursts From Space

By    |   Wednesday, 01 Apr 2015 10:56 PM

Strange pulsing signals coming from outside our solar system form an unexplained pattern and have some wondering if they could be coming from an extra-terrestrial, researchers say.

Known as Fast Radio Bursts, just 10 have been discovered – and a new study has found all 10 bursts' dispersion measures are multiples of a single number: 187.5, New Scientist reports.

Michael Hippke of the Institute for Data Analysis in Neukirchen-Vluyn, Germany, and John Learned at the University of Hawaii in Manoa, made the discovery, claiming there's a 5 in 10,000 probability the line-up is coincidence.

"If the pattern is real, it is very, very hard to explain," Learned told New Scientist.

The pattern would imply five sources for the bursts all at regularly spaced distances from Earth, billions of light-years away. More likely, Hippke and Lerned tell New Scientist, is that the FRBs all come from somewhere much closer to home – like 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.

"There is something really interesting we need to understand," Hippke told New Scientist. "This will either be new physics, like a new kind of pulsar, or, in the end, if we can exclude everything else, an ET."

"When you set out to search for something new, 'you might find something unexpected," he adds.

The most intriguing possibility is the source of the bursts might be a "who," New Scientist reports, and a paper by Hippke and Learned concludes: "An artificial source (human or non-human) must be considered."

But a fast radio burst is not the easiest message aliens could send, New Scientist notes.

Maura McLaughlin of West Virginia University, tells New Scientist it takes a lot of energy to make a signal that spreads across lots of frequencies, and if the bursts come from outside the galaxy, they's have to be incredibly energetic to get this far.

"This extraordinary finding either indicates an as yet unknown or unusual astronomical phenomenon, or it could indicate that this is a vast alien communication network, and the universe is teeming with intelligent life forms," Nigel Watson, author of the UFO Investigations Manual, tells the Daily Mail.

"Every unusual signal from outer space encourages us to wonder if it is from an alien civilization.It would be fantastic if this was an alien signal as the knowledge that we are not alone in this vast universe would have a dramatic impact on our perception of our place in the scheme of things."

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Strange pulsing signals coming from outside our solar system form an unexplained pattern and have some wondering if they could be coming from an extra-terrestrial, researchers say.
pulsing, radio, signals, outer, space, scientists
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2015-56-01
Wednesday, 01 Apr 2015 10:56 PM
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