News & Politics

E.T. Phones Home, Home Might Have Just Replied

Who doesn’t love a “mysterious radio signals from outer space” story?

Astronomers have picked up five mysterious unidentified radio signals that could originate from OUTSIDE the Milky Way.  The “fast radio bursts” included one “double signal” never heard before and have left astronomers buzzing with excitement over the possibility of it being a message with alien origins. Only 11 of the unidentified transient radio pulses have been recorded before around the world.

And it is the curious new double blast – which was accompanied by four “singles” – which has baffled astronomers analysing data from the Parkes radio telescope in New South Wales, Australia. Emily Petroff from Swinburne University, in Melbourne, one of the team who discovered the signals, believes the origin could be more remarkable than anything recorded before. She tweeted: “We have no idea what’s going on, but we know it’s definitely something cool.”

The problem is, what’s cool to astronomers may not be the kind of cool sci-fi geeks (which I assume includes the vast majority of the PJ Media readership) are looking forward to. Maybe not quite, Gort: Klaatu barada nikto, but something along those lines.

The discovery is being compared in significance to the recording of the “Wow signal” – a strong narrowband radio wave found by Jerry Ehman in 1977. That radio burst, picked up by the Big Ear radio telescope of The Ohio State University in the United States, bore all the expected hallmarks of non-terrestrial origin but has not been detected since.

Fast radio bursts (FRBs) were first discovered from records in 2007, and we finally saw one in real-time last year. However, there has never, until now, been a double blast.

First time for everything, I suppose. In the meantime, do carry on.