Scientists have spotted repeated blasts of radio signals coming from deep in space for a second time. Only this time, 13 of them were definite repeats – like an echo in a really deep cave.
The blasts were discovered by the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) in British Columbia. CHIME
[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. 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.
Fast radio bursts (FRBs) have been speculated to be the result of everything from exploding stars to transmissions from aliens, with little evidence of where they might be coming from. The flashes only last for a millisecond but they are flung out with the same amount of energy the sun takes 12 months to produce.
The breakthrough is only the second time scientists have seen such a repeating radio burst and provides a special opportunity to understand what might be throwing out the bursts from a galaxy billions of light years away.
Having two sets of repeating bursts will allow scientists to understand what distinguishes them from single bursts, pinpoint a source, and watch for future blasts. Together, they could offer some evidence of the environment they are coming from – or the mysterious technology that some claim alien civilizations could be launching them into space with. One problem, as explained by Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at the SETI Institute, is that they appear to come from all over the sky, from galaxies separated by billions of light-years. Aliens would have to be super organized to coordinate signals across the universe. Perhaps an Empire of interconnected peaceful galaxies?? An Ellysian Empire for real???