Mystery Signals from Deep Space May Have Been Sent By Aliens, Astronomers Say

The source of these transmissions has remained a mystery since they were first detected in 2007, with scientists suggesting they were produced by anything from alien spaceships to exploding stars. Now a team from the Breakthrough Listen team at the University of California has zoomed in an object called FRB 121102, which is three billion light years away and the only source of repeated fast radio bursts observed in the known universe.

The transmissions are behaving similarly to radio emissions produced by the supermassive black holes at the centre of galaxies, leading scientists to suggest the bursts from FRB 121102 are being produced by a neutron star rotating at high speed ‘in the vicinity of a black hole’.

However, the astronomers also suggested the bursts could be a ‘high-powered signal from an advanced civilization’.

“Although it’s extremely unlikely that pulses we have detected from FRB 121102 were transmitted by extraterrestrials, we would like to test various extraterrestrial hypotheses for the FRB type transient signals in general,” said Vishal Gajjar of Breakthrough Listen and the Berkeley SETI Research Center.  “At this point, we don’t really know the mechanism. ‘There are many questions, such as, how can a rotating neutron star produce the high amount of energy typical of a fast radio burst?”


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