Space: Astronomers discover 'alien' radio signals repeating on a 16-day cycle

Space: Astronomers discover 'alien' radio signals repeating on a 16-day cycle

Between September 16, 2018 and October 30, 2019, researchers with the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment/Fast Radio Burst Project collaboration detected a pattern in bursts occurring every 16.35 days.

For the first time, scientists in Canada have discovered a pattern in a series of signals coming from a galaxy half a billion light-years away.

They discovered that there were four-day cycles of regular activity where strong radio waves were sent out into space on nearly every hour. FRB 180916 was traced back to one of the spiral arms of the Milky Way-esque galaxy. They do not know what all the data quite means at this time, however, the material they have gathered has been uploaded to pre-print server arXiv, where it is awaiting scrutiny from other experts. Then, it would go silent for another 12 days.

During this time, the FRB 180916.J0158+65 followed a 16.35-day cycle. Further research about fast radio bursts was published in the journal Nature last month.

Last year, the CHIME/FRB collaboration detected the sources of eight new repeating FRBs and its signal. Researchers hope that tracing the burst's origin will help them to determine what caused it.

The researchers discussed a number of theories for the cause of the radio waves, including neutron stars or other post-supernova activity, as well as the combination of orbital motion and a lower-mass black hole. Authors of a different paper consulted with the researchers who discovered the pattern.

Since it was the discovery in 2017, the signals have repeated steadily, and now it adds up the mystery quotient surrounding this FRB. Neutron stars usually appear to strobe recurrently from the angle of X-ray detectors on Earth, as a result of scorching spots on their floor spin out and in of view like a lighthouse beacon. Their diameters are comparable to the size of a city like Chicago or Atlanta, but they are incredibly dense, with masses bigger than that of our sun. The OB-type stars are massive stars that are short-lived. The interaction between these two, and the wind coming off of the OB-type star, could factor into the cause of the repeating FRB's pattern.

The powerful, high energy bursts are some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astronomy.

CNN said astronomers can use FRBs to better map how matter is distributed across the universe.

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