There is something causing repeated short bursts of radio waves to be released into space, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature, which was also presented to the American Astronomical Society in Seattle.
There are all kinds of sounds echoing in the vast reaches of space, but this one has repeated twice, which is unusual. Needless to say, this makes believers look to the sky for hopes of alien intelligence.
From the CNN article:
This new repeating fast radio burst is called FRB 180814.J0422+73 and was recorded six times coming from the same location, 1.5 billion light-years away.
This is one of the very first detections made by the new Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment, or CHIME. The radio telescope was still in its pre-commissioning phase and operating with only a small amount of its full capacity in the summer of 2018 when it detected this and 12 singular fast radio bursts.
And although this new detection doesn't solve the biggest mysteries surrounding the radio bursts, the researchers who recorded it believe that other repeating fast radio bursts will be found -- which could allow them to figure out where they originate.
"Knowing that there is another suggests that there could be more out there," said Ingrid Stairs, a member of the CHIME team and an astrophysicist at the University of British Columbia. "And with more repeaters and more sources available for study, we may be able to understand these cosmic puzzles -- where they're from and what causes them."
The current theory is that powerful astrophysical phenomena are causing them. The first repeating fast radio burst was recorded at a frequency of 700 megahertz, but some of the bursts CHIME recorded were as low as 400 megahertz.
"[We now know] the sources can produce low-frequency radio waves and those low-frequency waves can escape their environment, and are not too scattered to be detected by the time they reach the Earth," Tom Landecker, a CHIME team member from the National Research Council of Canada, said in a statement. "That tells us something about the environments and the sources. We haven't solved the problem, but it's several more pieces in the puzzle."