Astronomers, scientists, and researchers have been questing to find new life outside Earth for a very long time. Thus, every little detail obtained, which is related to outer space, is scrutinized thoroughly.
Fast and short cosmic radio bursts in space have bewildered astronomers since they were first discovered a decade ago. A previous study conducted by Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics suggested that these Fast Radio Bursts or FRBs may have their origin in alien space probes.
A new study fuels this notion and states that these FRBs indeed originate from outer space.
What Are FRBs?
FRBs are radio wave emissions that appear for milliseconds and occur without a specific pattern. These random occurrences not only make their detection tough, but also make it difficult for scientists to study them.
The first FRB was recorded in 2007 by a radio telescope. However, the occurrence was for such a short span, that it took scientists years to decipher their origin or meaning. All astronomers could come up with were theories and suppositions, which may be far from the truth.
FRBs Originate From Outer Space
To unravel this mystery, Manisha Caleb, a student at the Australia National University, the ARC Centre of Excellence for All-sky Astrophysics, or CAASTRO, and Swinburne University of Technology, undertook a study to find the origin of these FRBs.
Caleb and her colleagues from the Swinburne University of Technology and University of Sydney were able to identify three FRBs, which were captured by the Molonglo radio telescope. This telescope is located 25 miles from Canberra.
It was earlier believed that FRBs were nothing but local interferences jutting into the line of detection. However, in 2013, CAASTRO scientists and engineers discovered that the Molonglo radio telescope was able to "place a minimum distance to the FRBs due to its enormous focal length."
"Conventional single dish radio telescopes have difficulty establishing that transmissions originate beyond the Earth's atmosphere," explained Swinburne University's Chris Flynn.
Owing to its enormous focal length, the radio telescope has a massive data collection and huge viewing field, which facilitates optimum results for FRB searches.
The researchers' main aim was to develop specific software to help sieve through the massive pile of data (1000 TB), which the telescope collected every day. During this filtering of information, the existence of three new FRBs was discovered.
"Figuring out where the bursts come from is the key to understanding what makes them. Only one burst has been linked to a specific galaxy," said Caleb.
The study was published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society on March 29.