Radio telescope near Penticton, B.C., opening new doors in astrophysics

06 August, 2018, 10:13 | Author: Sherry Houston
  • Scientists Pick Up First Mysterious Radio Signal From Deep Space

A unusual, sudden burst of radio waves has been picked up by Canada's new, state-of-the-art radio telescope - and it is throwing scientists for a loop.

Although scientists have yet to decipher where FRB 180725A originated from, its unexpectedly low frequency has driven them to speculate that whatever source sent this signal across the universe is likely "extremely powerful", states the Daily Mail.

And the signal has even been named - well, branded - "FRB 180725A". Fast radio bursts are not uncommon, but are considered special because no one knows what their sources are. Before it, there has never been an FRB picked up below 700 MHz.

'Fast radio bursts are exceedingly bright given their short duration and origin at great distances, and we haven't identified a possible natural source with any confidence, ' Avi Loeb, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics research institute, said in 2011.

The Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME for short) is located in British Columbia, and it spends its time listening intently for signals beaming through the vacuum of space.

The post reads: "During its ongoing commissioning, CHIME/FRM detected FRB 180725A on 2018 July 25 at 17:59:43.115 UTC (18:59:43.15 BST/13:59:43.15 ET)".

Patrick Boyle, of McGill University, first reported the detection of the FRB with a post on the astronomical publication Astronomer's Telegram. Because it had a frequency as low as 580 Mhz.

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Apparently, it is said that all these signals come from the Milky Way but few of them are dated back to billions of years ago. "These events have occurred during both the day and night and their arrival times are not correlated with known on-site activities or other known sources of terrestrial RFI".

Scientists can not yet identify the process which produces the short and sharp radio wave bursts, which means we can not rule out the possibility they were made by aliens.

No one knows what this mysterious signal is, where it came from, or why it suddenly crossed Earth's radar.

In any case - whether the merger of black holes, exploding stars or just noisy alien party - we will need a remarkable patience, while science can give a precise answer about where are these fast radio bursts.

In an interview with the Daily Mail, astrophysics professor Christopher Conselice of the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom discusses the possible sources of FRBs, noting that the recently-discovered low-frequency signals might shed new light into what causes this intriguing phenomenon.

Mysterious radio signals emitted from across the universe.

The study of FRBs is only in its incipient stages and astronomers are confident that more such radio signals will be detected as our technology progresses.

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