More Mysterious Radio Bursts Were Detected Radiating From Space

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Another series of mysterious “fast radio bursts” (FRBs) has been detected by a new telescope in Canada, emanating from somewhere deep in the cosmos. The last detection of FRBs came last year, picked up by Breakthrough Listen, a project focused on detecting signs of intelligent extraterrestrial life.

FRBs are a series of incredibly short, powerful radio emissions in millisecond lengths, coming form an unknown source, lightyears away. Signals were detected last year, named FRB 121102, and were the first repeating radio bursts ever discovered, believed to be emitting from a distant neutron star — the highly dense core of a collapsed star.

 

The source of the latest signals could be a number of things, including an exploding black hole, magnetar, a spinning pulsar known as a blitzar, or the most exciting prospect; a highly advanced extraterrestrial race.

The frequency of these signals, named FRB 180725A, are the first of their kind to be detected below 700 mHz. The FRBs earlier this year were above 800 mHz, with scientists calculating their source to be some 3 billion lightyears away. The source would have emanated the same amount of power in each burst as our sun does in an entire day.

4ec391e600000578 6018923 the short burst of radio waves detected by the state of the art  m 3 1533207309428

If these mysterious waves are coming from an extraterrestrial civilization, their setup would be equivalent to two Earth-sized generators, and would likely exist as a power source for spacecraft, rather than simply sending signals into the universe to make their presence known.

The signals were detected by the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) in British Columbia, a telescope that has been operating for under a year, with the primary goal of detecting FRBs. The telescope constantly scans 1,024 individual points in the sky 24/7, at 16,000 different frequencies, 1000 times per second; talk about an advanced piece of technology.

The first FRBs were discovered about a decade ago, making them one of the newest cosmological phenomena monitored by astrophysicists. Only a few dozen of these radio bursts have been detected since their initial discovery and scientists still consider the extraterrestrial explanation plausible.

Now that the CHIME telescope is solely focused on the signals, it may only be a matter of time until evidence of an intelligent extraterrestrial source are discovered. If they are from an advanced civilization, let’s just hope it still exists, considering these signals would have been sent millions or even billions of years ago.

 

Watch this episode of Ancient Civilizations in which we discuss the exciting prospect of an advanced extraterrestrial civilization transmitting FRBs:



A Massive Meteor Hit Earth Last Year; Almost No One Noticed

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A massive meteor explosion over the Bering Sea three months ago went completely unnoticed until just now, when scientists reviewed low-frequency acoustic wave data picked up by global recording stations. The 32-foot diameter meteor exploded on Dec. 18, releasing 173 kilotons of energy – about 10 times that of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

This latest meteor explosion was the second largest impact in the past 30 years, coming in behind the Chelyabinsk meteor of 2013 which caused a number of injuries and was widely captured on video.

But unlike Chelyabinsk, this recent explosion took three months to be detected by a scientist studying infrasound data, which is inaudible to humans, but recorded by 16 monitoring stations around the world. The explosion is even being compared to the Tunguska event of 1908, during which a meteorite leveled an area of Siberia that included somewhere in the range of 80 million trees.

The explosion occurred in an incredibly remote area of the planet over an ocean where, luckily, no air traffic was passing through at that moment. But the fact that meteors this size with devastating potential, can enter the atmosphere almost undetected is a little unsettling.

While it wasn’t witnessed or officially recognized until now, footage from a Japanese weather satellite happened to capture an image of the explosion as it entered the atmosphere between Russia and Alaska.

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The meteor explosion caught by the Japanese Himawari-8 satellite Simon Proud, University of Oxford/Japan Meteorological Agency

 

Scientists often refer to a meteorite this size as a city-buster due to its potential to level an entire city, and bolides this size tend to enter our atmosphere a few times per century.

Reassuringly, most of the larger asteroids floating in our general vicinity have been mapped out and are regularly monitored by scientists at various observatories – even if we don’t necessarily have the means to deflect them if they were on a crash course with Earth.

But these mid-size rocks are particularly troubling, especially as man-made space debris can lead to collisions and changes in trajectory.

The technology and cataloging of 90 percent of all near-Earth asteroids larger than 450 feet in diameter is underway, but may take several decades. But these are only the rare nation-busters that would wipe out an entire country; mapping out all of the smaller city-busters is something that hasn’t really been considered, if it’s even possible.

Seems like it might be time someone builds a machine learning algorithm to do that for us.

 

For more on near-miss asteroids check out this episode of Beyond Belief with Dan Durda:

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