Where are they from? Mystery intergalactic radio bursts detected
2013-07-08 0:00

By Irene Klotz | NBCNews



Astronomers were on a celestial fishing expedition for pulsing neutron stars and other radio bursts when they found something unexpected in archived sky sweeps conducted by the Parkes radio telescope in New South Wales, Australia.

The powerful signal, which lasted for just milliseconds, could have been a fluke, but then the team found three more equally energetic transient flashes all far removed from the galactic plane and coming from different points in the sky.

Analysis later indicated that, unlike most cosmic radio signals that originate in the Milky Way or a nearby neighbor galaxy, these four seem to have come from beyond.

Whatever triggered the bursts has come and gone. The signals, detected between February 2011 and January 2012, were one-time events so little follow-up work can be done.

What is known is that in just a few milliseconds, each of the signals released about as much energy as the sun emits in 300,000 years.

“They have come such a long way that by the time they reach the Earth, the Parkes telescope would have to operate for 1 million years to collect enough to have the equivalent energy of a flying mosquito,” astronomer Dan Thornton, with the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, wrote in an email to Discovery News.

Scientists have all kinds of theories about what exotic phenomena may have triggered the bursts. The contenders include colliding magnetars, which are neutron stars with super-strong magnetic fields; evaporating black holes; and gamma ray bursts that involve a supernova.

Or, as Cornell University astronomer James Cordes points out, the bursts could be from an entirely new type of high-energy astrophysical event.

“It is still early days for identifying the astrophysical origins of such common but (so far) rarely detected events,” Cordes wrote in an article published in this week’s Science.

[...]

Read the full article at: nbcnews.com








Related Articles
A Population of Fast Radio Bursts at Cosmological Distances
Aliens Found In Ohio? The "Wow!" Signal
The “Wow!” Signal
Spring Equinox, 3.20.13 – The Gateway & the Love Signal (528 HZ)
Huge solar flare jams radio, satellite signals: NASA
Mysterious Light Pulse From Planet Gliese 581g - Alien Signal?
Mystery Signal Faster than Speed of Light
Is SETI Science?
SETI Scientist: We’ll Find E.T By 2036
SETI opens up its data to ’citizen scientists’


Latest News from our Front Page

Congratulations Pussy Porters!
2015-03-26 18:52
Mural paid for by the government, decorates a Swedish school. On International Women’s day Julia Caesar published this chronicle in Swedish on Snaphanen which I’ve translated but prior to reading it I’d like to provide you with some background information on certain terms which are incomprehensible to non-Swedes. First and foremost “pussy porter” and “penis porter” are terms that third-wave feminists in ...
Germanwings co-pilot appears to have crashed plane deliberately – prosecutor
2015-03-26 18:08
The Germanwings co-pilot seemed to have crashed the plane deliberately, killing 150 people on board. The co-pilot wouldn’t let the captain inside the cabin, with the “intension to destroy” the jet, the French prosecutor said at a press conference. Follow RT’s live updates on investigation into Germanwings plane crash The Germanwings co-pilot was identified as Andreas Lubitz. The captain was between 30 ...
Sweden adds gender-neutral pronoun to dictionary
2015-03-25 19:38
The official dictionary of the Swedish language will introduce a gender-neutral pronoun in April, editors at the Swedish Academy have announced. “Hen” will be added to “han” (he) and “hon” (she) as one of 13,000 new words in the latest edition of the Swedish Academy’s SAOL. The pronoun is used to refer to a person without revealing their gender – either because ...
Unchecked government drones? Not over my backyard
2015-03-25 0:27
On last Thursday, the Federal Aviation Administration gave Amazon the green light to begin testing drones. While you aren’t likely to be getting your Amazon order delivered by drone anytime soon, as the approval is limited to research and testing, the fact remains that this technology is already part of our lives. Drones are already helping the federal government observe and ...
Finland schools: Subjects scrapped and replaced with 'topics' as country reforms its education system
2015-03-25 0:46
For years, Finland has been the by-word for a successful education system, perched at the top of international league tables for literacy and numeracy. Only far eastern countries such as Singapore and China outperform the Nordic nation in the influential Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) rankings. Politicians and education experts from around the world – including the UK – have ...
More News »