Repeated fast radio bursts from space make ‘alien life’ theories alive

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 11 Jan 2019 09:18:39



ASTRONOMERS, including some of Indian origin, have detected repeating energy bursts from a single source from deep space for the second time in history -- giving impetus to theories that there could be evidence of advanced alien life. A Canadian-led team of scientists found the second repeating fast radio burst (FRB) from the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) telescope located in the mountains of British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley.

Of the more than 60 FRBs observed to date, repeating bursts from a single source had been found only once before -- a discovery made by the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico in 2015, the team said in a paper published in the journal Nature and presented at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Seattle on Wednesday. Fast radio bursts are short bursts of radio waves coming from far outside our Milky Way galaxy and scientists believe FRBs emanate from powerful astrophysical phenomena billions of light years away.

“Whatever the source of these radio waves is, it’s interesting to see how wide a range of frequencies it can produce. There are some models where intrinsically the source can’t produce anything below a certain frequency,” said team member Arun Naidu of McGill University. The repeating FRB was one of a total of 13 bursts detected over a period of just three weeks during the summer of 2018. It came six times from the same location, 1.5 billion light-years away.

Additional bursts from the repeating FRB were detected in following weeks. “Until now,  there was only one known repeating FRB. Knowing that there is another suggests that there could be more out there,” added Ingrid Stairs, a member of the CHIME team and an astrophysicist at University of British Columbia (UBC).