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According to a study by scientists from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA), fast radio bursts that could be ‘signals from advanced alien civilizations’ are firing off every second in our universe.
Astronomers have only found a couple of dozen FRBs (Fast Radio Bursts), and they still have not understood what causes these rapid and powerful radio broadcast bursts.
Some say its aliens, while others say it’s a combination of different cosmic phenomena that are yet to be identified, but the truth is, we honestly don’t know what causes them.
Now, for the first time ever, two astronomers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) have estimated how many FRBs should occur throughout the observable universe.
Their work indicates that at least one FRB is produced somewhere in the cosmos every second.
“If we are right about such a high percentage of FRBs occurring at any given time, you can imagine the sky is filled with flashes like paparazzi taking photos of a celebrity,” said Anastasia Fialkov of the CfA, who led the study.
“Instead of the light we can observe with our own eyes, these enigmatic flashes come in radio waves.”
In order to come to this conclusion—which many are findings surprising—Fialkov and co-author Avi Loeb assumed that FRB 121102, a rapid radio burst located in a galaxy about 3 billion light-years from Earth, is ‘representative’ of all FRBs in the cosmos.
Due to the fact that this FRB has produced repeated bursts since it was discovered back in 2012, astronomers have been able to study it in much more detail than any other FRBs.
Using that information, they calculated how many FRBs would exist throughout the known universe.
“In the time it takes you to drink a cup of coffee, hundreds of FRBs may have gone off somewhere in the Universe,” said Avi Loeb.
“If we can analyze even a portion of those well enough, we should be able to unravel their origin.”
Experts are still not able to pinpoint the exact origin of FRBs, but most experts agree on the idea that FRBs originate in galaxies located billions of light-years away.
One leading scientific theory is that FRBs are the byproducts of young, rapidly spinning neutron stars with extraordinarily strong magnetic fields.
Scientists point out that FRBs can help us study the structure and evolution of our Universe, regardless of whether or not their origin is fully understood.
A large population of FRBs could act as a probe of material across humongous distances.
As noted by CfA, the intervening material is able to blur the signal from the cosmic microwave background (CMB)—which is the leftover radiation from the Big Bang.
A careful analysis of this intervening material could provide an enhanced understanding of fundamental cosmic constituents, such as the relativistic quantities of ordinary matter, dark matter, and dark energy, which influence how rapidly the universe is expanding, and if of course, it is expanding at all.
The research study authored by Fialkov and Loeb explaining these results was published in the September 10, 2017, issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters, and is available online.