Published: Fri, September 01, 2017
Sci-tech | By Jackie Newman

Scientists detect 15 radio pulses, possibly from an alien spacecraft

Scientists detect 15 radio pulses, possibly from an alien spacecraft

This most recent event came courtesy of one of the usual suspects, FRB 121102, which has been heard on and off for years.

Backed by Mark Zuckerberg, Stephen Hawking, and the billionaire entrepreneur Yuri Milner, The Breakthrough Listen initiative was able to record these odd signals thanks to the Green Bank Telescope, in West Virginia, the Parkes Radio Telescope in Australia, and the Automated Planet Finder of the Lick Observatory, in Mt Hamilton, California. This repeating FRB source is located in a dwarf galaxy in Auriga constellation, around 3-billion-light-years from Earth.

According to a study that described their findings, this was the first time that repeating FRBs have been seen coming from this source at these frequencies. First detected with the Parkes Telescope in Australia, FRBs have now been seen by several radio telescopes around the world.

While looking for signs of intelligent life in the universe, astronomers have detected 15 fast radio bursts from a distant galaxy.

Scholz, who was not involved with the new discovery, was with McGill University when he and a team of astronomers discovered FRB 121102 to be a repeater.

The signals were detected in the early hours of Saturday, August 26, by UC Berkeley Postdoctoral Researcher Dr Vishal Gajjar using the Breakthrough Listen backend instrument at the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia.

The instrument accumulated 400 terabytes (a million million bytes) of data over a five-hour period, observing across the entire 4 to 8 GHz frequency band. And less than a week ago, they observed 15 Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) coming from a dwarf galaxy located three billion light-years away. However, it's extremely certain that these radio signals started they journey long before multi-cellular life even existed on Earth.

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"The distinctive shape that the dispersion imposes on the initial pulse is an indicator of the amount of material between us and the source, and hence an indicator of the distance to the host galaxy", Breakthrough said in its report.

Analysis by Gajjar and the Breakthrough Listen team revealed 15 new pulses from FRB 121102. They found 15 of the pulses, including one at 7 gigahertz, which is a higher frequency than previously recorded.

Breakthrough claims that whether or not FRBs eventually turn out to be signatures of extraterrestrial technology, the project is helping push the frontiers of a new and rapidly growing area of our understanding of the Universe.

The Breakthrough Listen team used the Green Bank Telescope to observe FRB 121102, which was first discovered in 2012.

One of the astronomers, Avi Loeb, chairs the advisory committee for Breakthrough Starshot, an initiative that's related to Breakthrough Listen and aims to send swarms of interstellar probes through the Alpha Centauri system ... propelled by directed energy beams.

The Breakthrough Initiatives are a suite of scientific and technological programs investigating life in the Universe.

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