Radio bursts coming from distant galaxy

Terry Joseph
September 1, 2017

The radio emissions were detected by the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia on August 26 during a five-hour-long series of 30-minute scans that were conducted as part of the Breakthrough Listen campaign.

They considered this as a huge advance for science, due to these were the first FBRs that repeated continuously after they were first spotted.

In 2012, a FRB named 121102 was observed for the first time. However, some have dared to venture that the bursts from FRB 121102 could conceivably originate from huge transmitters powering an interstellar spacecraft.

Breakthrough Listen is a global astronomical initiative launched in 2015 by Internet investor and philanthropist Yuri Milner and cosmologist Stephen Hawking. However, astronomers heard it again three years later, in 2015. The signals were so strong that the Breakthrough Listen team sent out an astronomer's telegram urging the scientific community to check it out, saying "these observations may indicate FRB 121102 is now in a heightened activity state, and follow-on observations are encouraged". Early on the morning of August 26, 15 new pulses were detected by researchers at Breakthrough Listen, an initiative that's monitoring for signals of possible intelligent extraterrestrial origin. Last Saturday, the Breakthrough Listen project turned its Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia towards in the direction of FRB 121102, which a recent study found emanates from a dim, dwarf galaxy in the constellation Auriga.

In the process of trying to observe FRB-121102 Astronomers ended up overcoming with the new bursts.

The biggest lead we have, ironically, is the strangeness of these 15 new FRBs - their high frequencies could help narrow down the potential explanations by making them easier to detect.

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Whatever is generating the emissions coming from FRB 121102, our solar system was less than 2 billion years-old when they left their source, while life on Earth consisted of just single-celled organisms. The instrument accumulated 400 TB of data on the object over a five hour observation, observing the entire 4 to 8 GHz frequency band.

Initial Results indicate that the FRB's enti at a higher frequency than previously observed. That's unusual in of itself; FRBs tend to pop once, and that's it, at least in the ten years we've been hunting them.

Today, the nature of fast radio pulses is unknown. For example, 1977's "Wow!" signal was a one-time radio burst lasting several minutes that bore the profile of a potential signal from extraterrestrials (hence its designation, coming from an excited researcher's notes).

"It would be another billion years before even the simplest multi-cellular life began to evolve", Breakthrough Listen said.

This is speculative work though and in the search for alien life, all other possibilities must be excluded first.

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