A series of mysterious pulsing signals coming from outside our solar system form a strange unexplained pattern, researchers have revealed.
Known as Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs), just 10 have been discovered – and astronomers have no idea what they are.
Now a new study has found that all 10 bursts’ dispersion measures are multiples of a single number: 187.5
Michael Hippke of the Institute for Data Analysis in Neukirchen-Vluyn, Germany, and John Learned at the University of Hawaii in Manoa made the discovery.
They claim there is a 5 in 10,000 probability that the line-up is coincidence.
‘If the pattern is real,’ Learned told New Scientist, ‘it is very, very hard to explain.’
The results imply five sources for the bursts are all at regularly spaced distances from Earth, billions of light-years away.
Hippke says, ‘there is something really interesting we need to understand.
‘This will either be new physics, like a new kind of pulsar, or, in the end, if we can exclude everything else, an ET.
‘When you set out to search for something new,’ he says, ‘you might find something unexpected.’
The FSB was first spotted in 1967 when British astronomer Jocelyn Bell Burnell was left stunned by mysterious pulsing signals she detected coming from outside the solar system.
For months she suggested the signals could be of an extraterrestrial intelligent origin, but they were later proven to be rapidly spinning stars known as pulsars.
However, a new series of mysterious signals, known as Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs), has again got astronomers scratching their heads and wondering if, maybe, we’re picking up alien messages.
FRBs are radio emissions that appear temporarily and randomly, making them not only hard to find, but also hard to study.
The mystery stems from the fact it is not known what could produce such a short and sharp burst, writes Katherine Mack of The Planetary Society.
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