BURSTS of radio waves flashing across the sky seem to follow a mathematical pattern. If the pattern is real, either some strange celestial physics is going on, or the bursts are artificial, produced by human – or alien – technology.
Scientists are trying to work out what is causing Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs)
The strange signals occur for a few milliseconds and come from nowhere
The first was detected in 2007, but only a handful have been seen since
Explanations range from colliding neutron stars to alien signals
The Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs), of which just 10 have been discovered remain unexplained.
Now a new study has found that all 10 bursts’ dispersion measures are multiples of a single number: 187.5
Scientists claim there is only a 5 in 10,000 probability that the line-up is coincidence.
The radio emission was so dispersed, experts suggested it must have come from a great distance away, possibly billions of light-years.
But early estimates said there should be 10,000 of these events a day – so the fact that another wasn’t discovered until 2012 was troubling.
This was when data from the Parkes Radio Telescope in Australia suggested it had heard another FRB, along with a handful of others, but the fact that only Parkes had detected the signals had some claiming these were merely instrument glitches.
Source: New Scientist, planetary.org, BBC