A telescope in Australia has picked up an unprecedented number of strange alien signals coming from distant galaxies.
Some signals originated from the other side of the universe and not from our own galactic neighborhood.
Astronomers have now nearly doubled the known number of ‘fast radio bursts’– powerful flashes of radio waves from deep space.
“We’ve found 20 fast radio bursts in a year, almost doubling the number detected worldwide since they were discovered in 2007,” Ryan Shannon, lead author of the study, said in a statement.
Australian astronomers using the ASKAP telescope (Australia Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder) have found a record number of short but powerful radio signals emanating from deep space.
Fast radio bursts (FRBs) are elusive signals that last only a few milliseconds and originate billions of light-years away. Despite the fact that we have now intercepted quite a few of these signals, scientists still do not know for sure what causes them.
They also generate intense pulses of energy, enough to match the amount of energy released by the Sun over the course of 80 years.
Some astronomers argue they could be signals produced by advanced alien civilizations.
Others say they could be caused by natural phenomenon.
The truth remains a mystery.
Scientists believe that FRB usually travels for billions of years, crossing unexplored regions in space, and sometimes passing through massive cosmic clouds of gas.
“Each time this happens, the different wavelengths that make up a burst are slowed by different amounts,” Jean-Pierre Macquart, a co-author of the study, noted.
“Eventually, the burst reaches Earth with its spread of wavelengths arriving at the telescope at slightly different times, like swimmers at a finish line.
“Timing the arrival of the different wavelengths tells us how much material the burst has traveled through on its journey.
“And because we’ve shown that fast radio bursts come from far away, we can use them to detect all the missing matter located in the space between galaxies — which is a really exciting discovery.”
The scientist also emphasizes that newly-found signals originate from the other side of the universe and not from our own galactic neighborhood.
“Using the new technology of the Australia Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), we’ve also proved that fast radio bursts are coming from the other side of the Universe rather than from our own galactic neighborhood.”
Among the twenty FRBs spotted by the ASKAP telescope, one came from about 100 million light-years away, the closest one so far-and the brightest was 10 times more powerful than those previously detected by other telescopes such as the Parkes.
A team of astronomers at the Swinburne University of Technology also found that none of the new FRBs were repeating signals like other FRBs spotted by the Arecibo radio telescope.