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Signal from outer space repeats every 16 days

  • The bursts originated from a distant galaxy some 500 million light-years away.
  • “There is no detectable pattern so far that would suggest there’s a sentient hand at play.”
  • One of the greatest mysteries in astronomy right now is the origin of … fast radio bursts.

For the first time, scientists have detected a radio signal from outer space that repeats at regular intervals.

The series of so-called “fast radio bursts” – which are very short-lived pulses of radio waves that come from across the universe – were detected approximately once an hour for four days and then suddenly stopped, only to start up again 12 days later. 

This cycle repeated every 16.35 days for over a year, according to a new paper about the research.  

The bursts originated from a distant galaxy some 500 million light-years away. 

“The discovery of a 16.35-day periodicity in a repeating FRB source is an important clue to the nature of this object,” the scientists said in the paper.

An artists's conception of how ground-based telescopes detected a fast radio burst from a distant galaxy.

The repeating pattern, reports Science X Network, “suggests the source could be a celestial body of some kind orbiting around a star or another body. In such a scenario, the signals would cease when they are obstructed by the other body.

“But that still does not explain how a celestial body could be sending out such signals on a regular basis,” Space X said. “Another possibility is that stellar winds might be alternately boosting or blocking signals from a body behind them. Or it could be that the source is a celestial body that is rotating.”

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