Do you remember that moment in the E.T. of the Spielberg movie, call home? Something is happening that brings it to mind. A team of researchers detected a radio signal. It arrives on Earth in a constant cycle of 16 days. Yes, it comes from outer space. According to the researchers, it enters the classification of the enigmatic rapid bursts of radio (FRB). They usually baffle scientists from the main research centers. The signal of the space that is repeated every 16 days opens up many questions.
What are FRBs?
FRBs are short bursts of radio broadcasts. They began to be detected as of 2007 by astronomers from all over the world. Many others have been observed, but only 10 of them have been repeated. It has been possible to identify where they come from in most cases. But it is not yet known what produces them.
Now, Canadian experts have observed the first example of a repetitive FRB. It has a constant cycle of 16 days. They have called the signal FRB 180916.J0158 + 65.
Despite a great effort, scientists do not know the source of FRBs and have been developing theories. Some suggest that they could be no more than the noise created when two stars collide. Others suggest that they are messages from distant advanced civilizations.
In this new effort, published on the arXiv server at Cornell University, researchers were studying data from the radio telescope used by the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment. When they saw the FRB, they tracked 400 observations made with the telescope. They determined that the FRB was repeated in a constant 16-day pattern. It was observed that FRB signals arrived approximately once an hour for four days and then suddenly ceased. And they start again 16 days later.
The repetitive pattern suggests that the source could be a celestial body of some kind. Maybe it orbits around a star or other body. In such a scenario, the signals would cease when they are obstructed by the other body. But that still does not explain how a celestial body could send such signals on a regular basis. Another possibility is that stellar winds could alternatively increase or block the signals of a body behind them. Or it could be that the source is a celestial body that is spinning.
The researchers tracked the source of the FRB to a spiral galaxy about 500 million light years away. It is called SDSS J015800.28 + 654253.0.
They suggest that future technology could determine which of the objects in the galaxy is sending FRBs and perhaps reveal how it is doing so. Meanwhile, the signal of the space that is repeated every 16 days will continue to give us goosebumps.