Fast Radio Bursts (FRB’s) are high energy, short-lived bursts of radio activity lasting not even a millisecond. They are detected as flickers of light that are said release more energy than our sun will radiate in over 10,00 years.
Scientists have now traced the source of one of the bursts to a galaxy that is a vast 3 billion light years away.
First spotted in 2012 by astronomers at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, the bright, flickering light has recurred repeatedly over the last four years.
And scientists can now reveal its exact position in the sky after honing in on the location following six months of studying the bursts.
Dr Shriharsh Tendulkar, a member of the team from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, said: “Before we knew the distance to any FRBs, several proposed explanations for their origins said they could be coming from within or near our own Milky Way galaxy.
“We now have ruled out those explanations, at least for this FRB.” ….
…. Dr Benito Marcote, from the Joint Institute for Very Long Baseline Interferometry in Dwingeloo, the Netherlands, said: “We think that the bursts and the continuous source are likely to be either the same object or that they are somehow physically associated with each other.”
But what exactly produced the burst remains unknown.
Experts suggest it could have been caused by a super-dense neutron star or possibly a “magnetar”, a neutron star with a very powerful magnetic field.
Geeks like myself just love to think about space and the various alien races that must be out there. However, space is a very very very big place, huge beyond our comprehension. Could it be that these signals are coming from an alien civilization?
Well, the bad news is that if this was a signal sent by a technologically advance species of alien, then it was sent approx. 3 billion years ago. Yes, that’s right, the signal is 3 billion years old.
With the source galaxy being estimated at being 3 billion light years away, and the signal itself coming in the form of high energy light, then with the speed of light being set in stone, it has taken these signals 3 billion years to get here.
This form of communication is a non-starter for obvious reasons.
Even Proxima B, and exoplanet around Alpha Centauri, at only 4 light years away, makes it speed-of-light communications ridiculous. Imagine being on a phone call and having to wait 4 years to hear if anyone even says hello at the other end!
The only feasible way to have inter galactic communications is via quantum entangled communications devices. The quantum world is a weird and freaky place, but we can use these effects to our advantage, and secure communications over any distance is just one.
As i mentioned above, the quantum realm is a mysterious place. Particles seem to know when they are being observed. Furthermore, it get even stranger when you entangle particles together. Take the entangled particles and place them any distance apart, and magically, any thing you do to one of the particles has an immediate effect on its twin. This rule holds true despite the distance, a fact that led even the great Einstein to call it “spooky action at a distance”.
So, if we are ever to have meaningful conversations with our space family, quantum communications is the only way to go.
Funny then that one of the men behind the quantum computer called D-Wave describes standing next to the machine as being akin to standing at an altar to an alien god. Is he phoning home?