Weird radio signals may have even freakier source than aliens

CNET | 1/10/2018 | Eric Mack
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Strange radio signals coming from deep space probably aren't aliens, but instead may come from something far more powerful and exotic.

Scientists first identified so-called "fast radio bursts" (FRBs) -- radio signals from deep space lasting mere milliseconds -- about a decade ago and have picked them up a few dozen more times since. Last year, astronomers announced the discovery of FRB 121102, the first FRB signal that repeats, making it possible to study the signal and its origins.

Arecibo - Radio - Telescope - Artist - Rendition

The Arecibo radio telescope with an artist's rendition of a fast radio burst.

In August, the repeating signal started going hyperactive, and powerful radio telescopes at Puerto Rico's Arecibo Observatory and the Green Bank Observatory in West Virginia tried to tune in. Researchers from the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy and Breakthrough Listen team, among others, shared resulting new details about the alien signals at the American Astronomical Society's annual meeting in Washington, D.C. Wednesday and in a paper that's the cover story for this week's issue of the journal Nature.

Data - Source - Bursts - Fields - Hole

The new data indicates the source of the bursts is embedded in strong magnetic fields, like those around a massive black hole. But the bursts are short, ranging from 30 microseconds to 9 milliseconds in duration, indicating the source could be something much smaller, like a neutron star, which is the very small and very dense collapsed core of a large star that's left over when it dies.

Researchers have never quite seen anything like it, but theorize that some combination of exotic cosmic phenomenon may explain the awesome power source required to propel the bursts across the universe.

Bursts - Come - Star - Environment - Models

"The bursts may therefore come from a neutron star in such an environment or could be explained by other models, such as a highly magnetized wind nebula or supernova remnant surrounding...
(Excerpt) Read more at: CNET
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