“Artificial or Natural?” –Pulsing Signal of Unknown Origin Detected from the Far Reaches of the Cosmos

“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,” says Avi Loeb of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. “An artificial origin is worth contemplating and checking.”

The Astronomer’s Telegram (a bulletin board of astronomical observations posted by accredited scientists) reported that on the morning of July 25, a burst of mysterious energy whizzed past a new array of radio telescopes nestled in the mountains of British Columbia, Canada, registering one of the rarest radio frequencies ever detected. CHIME, a state-of-the-art radio telescope nestled in the mountains of British Columbia, is designed to detect ancient radio waves of unknown origin some 6 billion to 11 billion years ago.

 

Though it has been in operation for only about a year, CHIME has already detected several noteworthy FRBs, including several more low-frequency signals that followed shortly after the noteworthy FRB 180725A last week.

According to a statement released by The Astronomer’s Telegram on August 3rd, the mysterious signal — named FRB 180725A after the year, month and day it was detected — transmitted in frequencies as low as 580 megahertz, nearly 200 MHz lower than any other FRBs ever detected.

“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,” wrote Patrick Boyle, author of the Astronomer’s Telegram report and a project manager for the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) — the radio telescope that detected the strange new signature.

“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, a scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who was not involved in the discovery, said last year in a statement related to new research on these bursts.

Boyle added that an “artificial origin” of the signals is a possible source. Other possible origins include supernovas (exploding stars), supermassive black holes or various other sources of mighty electromagnetic radiation, such as pulsars. Only about 40 or so FRBs have been detected since they were first discovered in 2007.

The Daily Galaxy via The Astronomers Telegram and Live Science

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