Scientists pinpoint extragalactic radio signals

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Scientists have isolated mysterious radio signals originating 500 million miles away from our galaxy. This discovery is the latest revelation regarding fast radio bursts (FRBs), which are short radio bursts that are powerful enough to be detected on Earth, even though they come from outside the Milky Way. Previously, scientists had great trouble isolating these signals due to how brief they are. 

Nevertheless, scientists have isolated a fast radio burst sequence that repeats itself approximately every 16 days. Having been discovered relatively recently in 2007, FRBs were thought to have been random bursts of background noise in space. However, the periodicity of these new signals show that there is a concrete cause of at least some of the bursts. 

There are many scientific and speculative theories as to what causes FRBs. One paper posted on arXiv speculates that fast radio bursts are the result of a binary star system consisting of a massive star and a neutron star. Others posit that these bursts may be a result of an alien civilization, although this is unlikely due to the power necessary to transmit these signals over such a far span. However, Harvard’s astronomy chair acknowledges that it is possible that an alien civilization could have developed the technology for FRBs.

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