While mysterious radio signals being transmitted from deep space aren't uncommon, the latest to be intercepted by Earth's equipment has left astronomers even more baffled than usual. They say it's being broadcast as a series of short bursts, mimicking a human heartbeat.
- Among the scientists looking for an answer to the mystery is MIT's Daniele Michilli, who says the signal -- dubbed "FRB 20191221A" -- is like nothing he's experienced before. “It was unusual," Michilli says. "Not only was it very long, lasting about three seconds, but there were periodic peaks that were remarkably precise, emitting every fraction of a second -- boom, boom, boom -- like a heartbeat."
- The discovery marks the first known case of a radio signal from space displaying a periodic pattern, Michilli notes. "There are not many things in the universe that emit strictly periodic signals," he says. "Examples that we know of in our own galaxy are radio pulsars and magnetars, which rotate and produce a beamed emission similar to a lighthouse." The newly-discovered signal, however, is more like a "magnetar or pulsar on steroids," he adds.
- Do you think alien creatures are trying to reach us?