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Space Science

Astronomers Detect Mysterious Radio Signals Coming From Outside Our Galaxy ( 205

This week the New York Post reported on "powerful radio signals which have been detected repeatedly in the same exact location in space," generating as much energy as the sun does in a whole day, in "the only known instance in which these signals have been found twice in the same location in space." Slashdot reader schwit1 quotes Science Alert: Back in March, scientists detected 10 powerful bursts of radio signals coming from the same location in space. And now researchers have just picked up six more of the signals seemingly emanating from the same region, far beyond our Milky Way... Currently, the leading hypothesis for the source of the Milky Way's FRB is the cataclysmic collision of two neutron stars, which forms a black hole. The idea is that as this collision happens, huge amounts of short-lived radio energy are blasted out into space. But the repeating nature of these distant signals, all coming from the same place, suggest that can't be the case... the most likely hypothesis at the moment for these outer-galactic FRB is that they're coming from an exotic object such as a young neutron star, that's rotating with enough power to regularly emit the extremely bright pulses.
But the New York Post thinks it's aliens.
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Astronomers Detect Mysterious Radio Signals Coming From Outside Our Galaxy

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  • I'm not saying it's aliens, because it's probably a microwave or garage door opener like it was the last time, and the time before that.

    • by gtall ( 79522 )

      My money is on the Greek guy with the electric hair orbiting a really old monument to ancient astronauts while shining a laser beam at the heavens to signal them he's ready to be taken.

      • Demis Roussos? I think he died last year.

        TYMNK: Best known as a crooning granny-pleaser, he was previously in Aphrodite's Child who were a Greek equivalent of Yes/Genesis.

  • Public imagination is a fickle thing often focused on the here and now. The great thing about FRB is that they are truly mysterious at the moment and a little over excitement is forgivable because science is often thought of as threatening or boring. Politicians are driven by the imperative to put bread on the tables of their voters and science often loses out because of it because it does not make money directly and it poses irritating questions such as climate change. So I say FRB being posed as something fantastic is not necessarily a bad thing. No doubt they are the boring result of some mechanistic behavior of the universe but just the idea of them being something more important knocks on the door of peoples imagination. It sells the story of why we do science at all, it is all about human curiosity which is a defining human quality. We are curious. The big questions in science are already literally fantastic and the answers we already have are beyond imagination. If you put up a big gravestone to the human race I think it might show the most significant progress in the area of scientific understanding. Fair enough we have encoded effective social progress in religious systems for living but the real hard work I think has been in the imagination that can comprehend outside common experience. If you insist that humans require a second party for meaning - a god - then it would seem a trivial existence not to investigate what they have created. FRB's are cool and I want to know what they are.

  • A whole day? Wow! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 31, 2016 @02:31PM (#53585343)

    "generating as much energy as the sun does in a whole day"

    Over what span of time is generating this energy that the sun does 'in a whole day'? Seconds? A day? A year? It's a meaningless statement otherwise, giving no hint of the power of the signal.

    I yearn for a time someone with a basic grounding in science was writing these summaries, for which the above would stand out like a sore thumb.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      According to the paper, a few milliseconds.

      • According to the paper, a few milliseconds.

        Of course, Score:0 for the correct answer, Score:5 for the non-RTFA question.

    • That line gave me a headache. It's why I have to avoid most media. It's not fake news, it's retard news.
    • by mmell ( 832646 )
      That's why it's called a summary - because you have to read the linked article to get all of the facts presented in the linked article.

      It's not just Slashdot, but the whole world that's getting dumber. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

      • units aren't a detail--they are essential.

      • the whole world that's getting dumber. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

        Adhere to the standards you were trained to and you'll look better by comparison each year.

        Except to retards seeking other retards.

  • by Glasswire ( 302197 ) <glasswire AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday December 31, 2016 @02:42PM (#53585383) Homepage

    Calling the emission a "signal" immediately suggests it the artifact of some intelligence rather than an natural phenomena - and that has definately not been established yet.
    Following is Googled definition of signal and I can't see any version of meaning which could imply something coming from a natural source:
    1. a gesture, action, or sound that is used to convey information or instructions, typically by prearrangement between the parties concerned.
    "the firing of the gun was the signal for a chain of beacons to be lit"
    synonyms: gesture, sign, wave, gesticulation, cue, indication, warning, motion
    "a signal to stop"
    2. an electrical impulse or radio wave transmitted or received.
    "equipment for receiving TV signals"
    1. transmit information or instructions by means of a gesture, action, or sound.
    "hold your fire until I signal"

    • Actually, the technical definition of signal requires no intelligent generation. It is merely a waveform that can be distinguished from noise.
  • That one does not only generate a lot of thrust, it does so without needing energy from the outside! These aliens seem to have a leak in their very large EM drive v3.0 and the signal is from them testing it and shutting it off again (...damn, still leaks....).

    • by mmell ( 832646 )
      The signals don't generally recur in the same place because all of the aliens testing an EM drive that failed so spectacularly are usually dead afterward. These are obviously smarter than your average LGM.
      • Reminds me of an Outsider Planetary Drive from Known Space. I always thought to myself, "If these things can turn a planetoid into relativistic shrapnel, they've got to make one hell of a signal for distant radio telescopes when they pop..."
  • bouncing off the edge of the universe and coming back, if you listen closely you can hear wolfman jack howling and playing 60's era rock & roll
  • But the New York Post thinks it's aliens [].

    Nowhere in the article does the paper say THEY think it's aliens.

  • The original Star Wars feed is at last getting here.
  • Theory (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DanielRavenNest ( 107550 ) on Saturday December 31, 2016 @05:09PM (#53585985)

    My guess is it's a precessing pulsar with an offset magnetic field. Pulsars are well known to produce repeating pulses as their magnetic poles rotate in and out of view. To see the pulses requires they cross our field of view, meaning a specific alignment of the rotation axis vs location of the magnetic pole (which don't have to be the same). If there is a second body near the pulsar, with an orbit offset from the equator, it would cause the rotation axis to precess, just like the Earth's does due to the Moon and Sun. Therefore the alignment of the magnetic pole would move in and out of view, and we only see pulses on the rare occasions they line up just right.

    This guess would be defeated if the pulses look nothing like normal ones from pulsars, and confirmed if enough data is collected to detect the orbital motion of a second body.

  • by ITRambo ( 1467509 ) on Saturday December 31, 2016 @05:13PM (#53586003)
    I'm amazed at how off-topic some comments are. It's sad that so many people think their wit and humor are worth sharing with all of us. Of course, there may have been some partying going on before posting on 2016-12-31. The radio emissions are from a yet undefined natural source. That's how everything discovered starts out, without knowing everything.
  • EVERY phenomena astronomers can't explain has a simple explanation: black holes. They just don't understand black holes. "Dark matter"? Nope, black holes. Gamma radiation bursts? That's just stars getting sucked into black holes. The "alien megastructure" around Tabby's star? Ok, that one might just be cosmic dust.
  • Aliens? Nope, this is just the deathstar [] being used to zap some celestial bodies.
    • Aliens? Nope, this is just the deathstar [] being used to zap some celestial bodies.

      Obviously wrong, since the Deathstar was destroyed a long time ago and required a huge crew of aliens. So it couldn't have been the Deathstar, and there would definitely have been aliens there if it were present and operational.

      • the Deathstar was destroyed a long time ago

        If the plans were not lost, it could have been rebuilt.

  • It's really coming from a black obelisk on the Moon. I seen it in a movie once.

1 1 was a race-horse, 2 2 was 1 2. When 1 1 1 1 race, 2 2 1 1 2.