So far, 17 fast radio bursts (FRB) have been detected from the constellation of Auriga – the charioteer, and it seems that more are coming from the same source.
Astronomers have grounds to hope for a sign of extraterrestrial life due to the fact that this is the only repeating FRB, named FRB 121102, discovered earlier this year.
In essence, FRBs are extremely high-energy phenomenon – an intense blaze of radio waves that takes but a few milliseconds. First discovered in 2011, fast radio bursts have been given a number of explanations, the main being that they are alien communication systems.
Scientists were able to confirm that the FRB source was extragalactic based on the intensity of the signal. On the other hand, their speed of appearance and disappearance implied that they are a unique event such as a collision of stars. However, FRB 121102 recurrence has shed new light on the phenomenon.
“Our discovery of repeating bursts from FRB 121102 shows that for at least one source, the origin of the bursts cannot be cataclysmic, and further, must be able to repeat on short [less than 1 minute] timescales,” the authors wrote in the paper, published in the Astrophysical Journal.
“Whether FRB 121102 is a unique object in the currently known sample of FRBs, or all FRBs are capable of repeating, its characterization is extremely important to understanding fast extragalactic radio transients.”
According to an international team of scientists, the FRB source is a young neutron star set in a dense cloud caused by either a star-forming region (like the Pillars of Creation) or a remainder of a supernova r.
But, astronomers are still lacking in information about the source due to the fact that neither the galaxy hosting it not its distance can be determined with the use of visible light. Less than 20 different sources of FRBs have been recorded so far, and scientists expect there are 10,000 FRBs emitted from every direction in the sky every day. All we have to do is point a telescope in the right place at the right time.
Still, fast radio bursts like FRB121102 could finally provide an answer to this extragalactic mystery.