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Astronomers Catch Mysterious Radio Blast From the Distant Universe

Coming from far beyond the galaxy, an extremely energetic blast of radio waves has been snared by astronomers lying in wait. Lasting for just a few thousandths of a second, the burst is the first of an enigmatic class of objects to be observed in real-time, astronomers report today in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Called fast radio bursts, these extreme pulses of energy last for just a fraction of a second. They’ve confounded astronomers – who have no idea what they are – since West Virginia University’s Duncan Lorimer reported the first burst in 2007. At the time, it appeared as though the beam of radio waves had traveled roughly 3 billion light-years before colliding with Earth. That’s a reasonably far distance, even by astronomical standards. But not everyone believed the team’s interpretation. Skeptics suggested the burst’s signal could be coming from Earth’s atmosphere, or from inside the galaxy, or even that it was an artifact of the telescope itself, located at the Parkes Observatory in Australia.

Indeed, for five years, that Parkes telescope was the sole spotter of fast radio bursts, and eventually observed another half-dozen or so.

That changed in November 2012, when the Arecibo Observatory spotted a fast radio burst. Like the Parkes signals, it looked as though it came from billions of light-years away. While the observation strongly suggested the bursts were not a telescope artifact, scientists still had yet to see one in real time: All of the observations so far had been pulled from data that were at least a few weeks old.

Then, on May 14, 2014, Swinburne University’s Emily Petroff spotted a fast radio burst in the act of blasting. She and her colleagues determined the signal came from as far as 5.5 billion light-years away and was mildly polarized, suggesting a magnetic field somewhere near its origin has aligned the waves in particular directions.

Petroff had designed a program specifically to spy on these bursts, and once the radio pulse had been detected, she rallied a legion of telescopes to stare at the thing. Tasked with peering deep into the cosmos, the group of 12 telescopes quickly returned data suggesting there was no easily identifiable astrophysical source. The lack of a discernible afterglow eliminated some of the more mundane possibilities, such as distant supernovas or long gamma-ray bursts.

So what are these fast radio bursts? The short answer is, scientists still don’t know. “There are more theories than there are bursts,” Lorimer said last year. Some of those theories implicate rather exotic-sounding, very dense objects:  Colliding black holes or neutron stars, evaporating primordial black holes, imploding neutron stars, or enormous flares erupting from magnetic neutron stars, called magnetars.

It’s a mystery that’s still waiting to be solved, but at least scientists now know their suspects live very, very far away and aren’t exceptionally secretive. Whatever the sources are, they regularly hurl beacons of radio light across a vast expanse of cosmic sea.

169 thoughts on “Astronomers Catch Mysterious Radio Blast From the Distant Universe

  1. Even in our own Galaxy that billions of stars we seen at night it is just impossible we are the only being exist… If we see those stars at night is just telling us life exist in the universe around us. Only we are maybe still have to learn how to deal with other life around our very own star?

  2. There has to be life on or in other galaxys , there is just too much of a vast space for us to be alone. It would be so exiting to find who we actually share our existance with, i mean who would not want to know that? .

  3. Its obvious that there is no way the Earth is the only planet in the entire cosmos of galaxeys that has life, with the trillions and trillions of planets out there, life must exist in some form and it is likely that species could exist that are a lot more technology higher advancement that we will be and it will probably be many many years before we are up to their level in fact if it was not for a meteor hitting the earth and starting life again, we may not even be here as an advanced form of life and a species may have developed millions of years ago that would now be far more advanced than we could imagine, however should we look for alien life? This could be the greatest discovery or the worst thing we have ever done, depending on the type of advanced life we might find, could be great or extinction for us, I personally believe life is out there and id love to see another species as advanced or more advanced than us before I die but i feel that its going to me many years or hundreds of years before the human race can have ability to meet or we are visited by another species.

  4. Maybe it the end of galaxies. Supernova’s caused by a collapsing of super black holes (the center of galaxies). That surely could send these “radio” waves in all directions billions of light years away. Just my theory, : )

  5. the fact we can detect these bursts is just amazing!We are truly living in an age of marvellous discoveries which time after time leave me in awe. Long live the curiosity of mankind which, one day will provide the answers to so many unanswered questions and ultimately lead to understanding the complexity and beauty of this wonderful universe which we all live in….. I feel inspired to say the least.

    1. Don’t be so inspired, I am an electronics tech of over 40 years and have been studying radio & associated fields for decades. We have been receiving radio signals from space for decades now, sooner or later some sort of contact will be made. The problem is there are religious elements in earths society how will try to suppress findings as it will be incompatible with their believes. These simple minded creatures will find it hard to admit we are not alone in the Universe.

  6. Well, it seems to me like we sent out deep-sapce radio waves in the hopes that someone would pick them up and hear us. Why does the same idea mirrored back at us seem so alien? Maybe because we never thought of the fact that interpreting our message is so far-fetched and interpreting their’s is just as impossible without a frame of information as a reference point. I mean, imagine trying to figure out what Japanese text says, having had no interaction with a person who spoke and wrote Japanese, it would be literally impossible to figure what they were trying to convey without physical things to tie the words to, and thus infer meaning from such things.

  7. Is it possible that since we broadcast radio waves into space decades ago that we are picking up deteriorated fragments of those radio waves after bouncing around the universe???

  8. It could be anything… there are phenomena in the universe that we know nothing of. But there is one fact here tremendously crucial: it traveled a distance of 5 bil years… depending on its speed, it may have originated at the time planet Earth was forming. Is it possible that at that time there were intelligent civilizations such as ours sending the blast out? If it was so we can only dream into what they evolved in time… because back then we were only life signatures engraved on the intrastellar rocks on a transitory voyage

  9. Well, if you were trying to reach other civilizations or just trying to answer the old question “Are we alone in the universe?” and if you were smart about it because of the share astronomical limitless number of planets in the know universe, I guess sending very short powerful radio waves to as many planets as possible and repeat the process every now and them, would definetly catch my attention. Wouldnt you say?

  10. Oh come on! These are our own “Is-there-anyone-out-there?” messages being catapulted right back at us after bumping on the trampoline-like walls of the universe.

  11. high electromagnetic anomalies ie with high amplitudes are likelly generated in a lot shorter distances, if nothing close blew up we have something close with the power to create such anomalies, the sun, the low cycle in solar activity affected our ionosphere and our magnetic field what may seem coming from afar may be just a solar flare that bursts trough our atmosphere deflected and modified so we may think 5.5 billion light-years not even a high power laser would reach us, visible light would accompany it if from a nova, everything depends in the amplitude of signal, as a civilization signal who would put that kind of energy in a bean, our measurements of distance and speed seem flawed, we have stars accelerating, checking our methods is likely be the best explanation to inexplicable phenomena, black matter as source of acceleration is like saying, there is a demon doing it, most our cosmic science is theoretic, easy to be false.


  13. This is so kool hopefully I’ll read about or hear about confirmation before my time is up. It be pretty amazing to die knowing we not alone!

  14. The funniest thing is that we are able to sense and speculate radio blasts from millions of miles away, but are still not able to sense the location of the missing Malaysian Airlines MH 370 … which by standards is very much on Mother Earth. Weird, isn’t it?

  15. why do people say its alien as soon as the word “space” “unkown” comes in? EM waves or radio waves could be created by other means as well, an exploding supernova perhaps? there is so much magnetism and energy out there to have caused this. Maybe people say its alien because they wish it was.the harsh reality is that life is a very rare coincidence in the universe. it takes alot of factors to make life, let alone evolving intelligence.

  16. If the distance of the source is five billion light years then it means that event took place even before the creation of our earth

  17. So was it in binary, decimal or hexadecimal, what type of radio wave, important cause it would mean a hint of intelligence, instead of just some garble. Life definitely exists elsewhere, intelligent life is another question. I can just imagine and hopefully during my life, the day when intelligent life is found. Imagine the impact this will have on humanity, what amazing innovations they might’ve though of. Imagine smoking a blunt with a grey around a campfire, imagine the stories. EX: I was speeding through this galaxy one day and the patrol stopped me and asked me why I was in such a hurry, and I had to remind the officer that time doesn’t exist.

  18. Could be most anything. What frequencies where they on? That would help. For example 37 Ghz is the same frequency as water vapor.

  19. It was a Chuck Norris from another planet farting, and we caught the wave sounds.
    Jk people, very interesting to know who joins us out there.

  20. Nadia, girl, you need to do something with that eye makeup, (great story by the way), nighttime liner with very little foundation, blush or lipstick narrows your eyes.

    Try some lighter liner and not so much on the bottom of your lids for a natural look.

    This is not an advertisement, just a makeup tip.

  21. Did anyone comment that a single light year is 5.89 TRILLION miles. Some of you commented on 5.5 billions miles of travel. Need to multiply first to arrive at the truly unfathomable distance of light years……….

  22. you really have a point there Bhola…. Please, just tell us the truth …. Then everybody can move on…. News please not stories….

  23. It is highly possible that intelligent life does not perceive time realtive to us and therefore could already be around us. 1 of thier years could be 1000 of ours or vice versa. They probably have already been her which created the dawn of religion. They most likely will check back in in out progress in a few of thier years. Kind of like our relationship with plants.

  24. Indeed, as Bash said: the frequency is very important. That can tell us a lot more about the origin of the radio burst.

  25. Después de tantos y diversos comentarios pienso que los humanos seguimos con nuestra madeja muy enredada…pero es cierto en parte lo que dice David Daniels, por qué nos asombraría tener algún tipo de respuesta, si hemos mandado un mensaje? Claro que hay muchas interrogantes, muuuuchas!! y eso es lo fascinante!!! Ahora, creo que antes de lanzarnos al espacio, deberíamos haber tenido en cuenta de dónde y de “quienes” podrían venir las respuestas…Todas son hipótesis por ahora… De todas maneras, esto es maravilloso!!! Estamos usando nuesrra mente, nuestra inteligencia…( poca, o mucha )…

  26. Terms like Superior Being are relative, compared to what? Before we compare we need to know and realize our maximum potential. I don’t think we can call Navy Seals as superior being. We may call an enlightened being a superior one, such as a Buddha, a Laotse, an Ashtavakra, etc. To reach their level we need to charge our inbuilt battery by meditating. Only after we know our level can we say if they are superior or not, correct?

  27. Hi
    Dear Scientist. Biddha said that there is so many Universe. One of Buddha´s pupil Monk who can travel very fast to Thousands of Universe by his bare foot.One day he was curious that how many universe out there and tried to find himself without eating; without sleeping and he wern´t found.And than he ask to Lord Buddha “Oh dear Loard i can travel very fast by my supernatural power and find how many Universe out there. There is so many that i can’t find the End of Universes´´.Ofcourse;Lord Buddha said your useless man to finding how many Universe out there you will become old and never find how many were there. “WHY DON’T U FIND THE WAY OF NOT BEING BORN and NOT BEING DEAD WHICH IS YOUR DESTINATION” . My point is dear scientists you should consult Buddha teach. I hope it will help.

  28. Well its more then obvious that we are not Alone. Its not possible our planet to be the only one that is capable of supporting life. Bilions of Galaxies and within this galaxies bilions of stars.

    1. Life comes in a variety of forms, from single cells, microbes, viruses all the way to Homo sapiens. We are compatible with the structure and balance of the elements present with our planet. Life could easily exist elsewhere BUT would be at it’s own stage of evolution and compatible wit it’ s own elements. Laws of physics are the same within our observable Universe. I believe God is at center of ths magnificent plan.

  29. I am humbled by astronomers, physicists and people who dedicate their lives to observing and interpreting the universe. I wonder what Galileo would do with knowledge gained through the present communication tools and network of observers?

  30. The point about extraterrestrial life is that it may occur easily (or relatively so) within the known universe due to the large numbers of stars and planets, but it is not said that it should occur during human race’s life span nor that any humanoid/intelligent species would last more than few centuries which is a blink of an eye in astronomical terms. So there could have been other intelligent species in other worlds and there could be more in the future… but having the luck to get in contact with an intelligent species close to us both in space AND time… it’s another matter. The large numbers of space and time make life in the universe very likely but unfortunately also make almost impossible to occurencies of such an event to get in touch with one another.

  31. Well my friends!!! the truth is that “Yes”, we are alone, no matter how hard we try, we are alone, we can not solve our own problems here on our own earth and we want an alien problem from some other source, we are not prepared, can you imagine the minute you get mad at one of this creatures… what would they do??? probably make you a signal for you to travel 5.plus light years….

  32. As we can understand that billion of light years away is equal to the earth still not exist during the time those radio waves are send to this direction .any possibility of decoding the message ..?. it may be a blue print on how to reach them . or it may say believe in GOD human kinds , He is the creator of all what you can see up here in the heavens .

  33. How do we measure the age of a radio wave? You can measure the distance of stars by the light, but even in those cases there is a need of reference points, but a signal that lasted less than a second… what phenomena is being used as a reference to determine the origin and distance to that point in the Universe? Btw, we usually refer to a single Universe unless you are talking about multi-verse and that’s a whole other thing)

  34. I believe I’ll hold on to my skepticism until astronomers have a chance to study these bursts in more detail. I find it difficult to believe that an intelligent source would fail to encode some kind of communication. After all, we did. If there’s no communication, then it’s a natural source generated by some kind of cosmic phenomena. Which is frankly the most reasonable explanation.

  35. So many illiterates in this thread. Then along comes ‘the christian’ & lowers the level of discourse several orders of magnitude by babbling on about how ‘god did it’.


  36. @Andrew Proctor: You said “It would be so exiting to find who we actually share our existance with, i mean who would not want to know that?” A couple of billion of people on earth who believe there is a god somewhere up (not out) there who created man, that’s who. The religious nut-jobs have a vested interest in the inexistence of life out there.

  37. We don’t even know how to cooperate and live in peace with other fellow beings, and we are going after Aliens?
    Just leave them alone.

  38. Life is everywhere. Its a hard facts that in our existance here in our very own planet called Earth that we are not alone, we call ourselve a human how about the other human in not so far planet? They just dont like to be notice maybe they are very secretive like stealth… theres always a reason..

  39. What station can I listen to these waves on? 🙂 The article literally said nothing about aliens, yet did describe how radio waves would be created in a multitude of ways. It’s funny how everyone jumped to aliens anyway.

  40. Science – ideas – technology, etc. is all very awesome. And I appreciate the comedic comments, as well. The idea that another ‘life-force’ could be reaching out made sense. So, ET?? Keep phoning.

  41. PLS people relax and stop making theories for others planets and etc…. watch this planet first and will see the others seconds. peace from greece

  42. We are still such a barbaric race when will we just look skyward with intrigue and intelligence and stop being so small minded and evolve. Into the higher intelligence we are destined for

  43. We are not the only intelligent life , and once we know how to get along with our own kind , then perhaps another intelligent populace may want to share !?!?

  44. Whether it is true that in the movie “Contact” (1997) was played on a similar signal to that were noticed by the 70s and 90s of the 20th century?

  45. Why are we so conceited as to think we are the only life source in the Universe. There are billions of galaxies with their own milky way and maybe the sun that is the center shines on them as well.

  46. Maybe it is an attempt to contract the aliens who already running around this world in their UFOs. Could be instructions on the future of this planet and what to do with those primitive life forms, humans.

  47. We humans need to reread about the tiwer of Babel. There are things we are not suppose to know or understand. Quit wasting money and direct it toward feeding hungry children.

  48. Signal is too short. It could be anything. And it comes from a a a a very distant place, so it could mean that whoever send it is long dead.

  49. It’s an alien zip file. All I need to do now is install the zip software and all will be revealed to me. Now where in the cloud did I park that zip program?

  50. What’d be neat would be to get episodes of the Jack Benny radio program bounced back to us by the field at The Great Barrier. Some Phil Harris & Alice Faye would be the cherry on the sundae.

  51. Or, the very first attempt of another civilization to communicate at exceptionally far distance. I mean improbable but I see no reason to leave the possibility out of the discussion.

  52. It could be one of 1 million anomalies or one of 1 million forms of life we have yet to discover. Look at our planet just teeming with life! I have no doubt there are many different animals in existence on foreign planets, and at least a few that evolved into intelligent life forms. The biological and geological diversity would be fascinating, but imaging if we could also learn from advanced technology & cultural philosophy that could teach us how to feed everyone, irraticate disease, enjoy peace and equality. Would the combined knowledge of other worlds provide a utopia, or debate, mistrust and war?

  53. Wow… the real tragedy here is the absurdity that any naturally intelligent being would even entertain a fleeting thought that what we deem “life’ would not ‘otherwise’ exist. Think about it…

  54. Wow I hope there aren’t any real scientists reading this nonsense thread, ppl you don’t need aliens to get radio bursts, even the planets and sun in our own solar system emit radio signals which are part of the invisible light spectrum, just like X-rays, gamma rays etc. Granted this may be a unique form but there is nothing to indicate intelligence in this phenomena…that ppl make such a conclusion based on purely astronomical data just floors me. Look up neutron stars ppl and maybe then you’ll see how inbred you all sound referencing both aliens, us, or “trampolining off the walls of the universe ” it’s like saying thunder is the result of a gods tummy rumbling.
    Apples and oranges y’all!

  55. Why does everyone use the ‘vastness of the universe’ excuse? We aren’t able to understand how we ourselves evolved out of the primordial soup. Also, judging by the distance which these waves traveled, the universe was a LOT younger when the source transmitted it.

    Don’t be daft people. There is no one out there; it’s just our human tendency to seek out another being to co-exist with.

  56. It’s simply a guy name Jim Smith, a ham radio operator, on a planet in a galaxy 5.5 billion light years away broadcasting “c q, c q, c q. End of mystery

  57. why find life on other planets? People on Earth haven’t been able to live in peace, & have been killing each other for thousands of years, & it will never change. Is it our objective to find extra terrestrial life so we can exploit their resources & annihilate life there also? We may regret finding other life

  58. If they continue to be detected only at these large distances, I’d guess they were common 3 to 5.5 billion years ago but faded out eventually. Some large magnetized object being torn apart might fit the bill.

  59. To the person who practically called the ppl who said there MAY be other intelligent life “idiots, absurd”, may I add you cannot know any more than the rest with certainty. You may be right and may be wrong……the study emphasizes there is ‘Something Different’ about the transmissions.

  60. Back in the sixties when I worked for the Geophysical Institute at the U of Alaska Fairbanks, one of the projects we worked on was to listen for cosmic noise at 30 MHz. However the methods we used at that time could not detect bursts that lasted only a few milliseconds. I had set up one of those monitoring stations on the north coast of the Yukon, abpout 20 miles east of the Alaska/Canada border.

  61. The waves are more like a signature of low frequency radio waves from comets,meteors that release these low frequency waves due to the solarsystem itself is gravity,waves, solar ect.Or it could well be radio waves from other life forms with capabilities like,or more advanced as our own looking for a reply. Either way its very exciting for the universal community’s as we are most defently not alone.

  62. I feel like we all WANT it to be aliens, but realistically if it was intelligent life than it would not be coming in such fast, albeit strong, bursts. I think its more likely the radio signals are coming from a quasar or some similar remnant of the big bang on the outskirts of the universe. The magnetization mentioned may be caused by other polarities found at the farthest reaches of the universe, but not necessarily by the originating object itself. I mean I’m just a twenty three year old kid with now astronomical training other than the personal interest i took, but the idea of quasars pulsing like this isnt new, its the way its pulsing that is new. But i think its just a different quasar, not something undiscovered.

  63. Interesting, but troubling news. Steven Hawking warns that visiting aliens could be a tragic event for mankind. If “they” have the same mind set as we have demonstrated in exploiting our worlds’ ecosystem, we will be dead meat!

  64. It’s so good they have discovered something new. But what is the purpose of finding life on other planets when even those of us who live here can not live with each other. We kill each other, steal from each other, hate each other, we envy each other and what would happen to someone out there from another planet not another town or state or….

  65. the univers is a miror?… sometime at the futur more discovery will by made to change the perception of that small place call ‘ terra. the univers is the teacher of sciences…

  66. onviously more info is needed to even begin to guess on what it is. So many factors at play.

    What is the frequency?
    What makes it unique?
    Has it be observed from space?
    Is there a trend or pattern on how often it comes and goes?
    Is it the same every time?
    Can we predict the next time it will happen?
    Does it fade in and out or does it simply start and stop?
    How long is it exactly?
    Can we determine if it’s coming directly at us or just continues past us?

    These are just off the top of my head. Smarter minds are asking more complex questions and possibly know some of these answers. My point is no one can jump to any crazy conclusions about what it is or isn’t. But I’d sure is fun and exiting news!

  67. Well for some of u it’s hard to believe that we are the only living things on this plant but u like it or not this is the truth.

  68. I would rate the possibility of other intelligent life evolving elsewhere in the universe as quite high. Seeing how the galaxy is billions of years old, I would rate the possibility of other intelligent life evolving elsewhere in the universe concurrent with our own existence as quite rare.

  69. There has to be life out there we thought the earth was flat once apon a time and America was just a myth space is just like an ocean we jus got to explore it but these signals are no intelligent life its obviously a cosmic collision or explosion for the signal to travel billions of lightyears would mean that their civilisation was up and running billions of years ago but how good Would it be to meet a civilisation that old

  70. Supernatural beings that govern cosmos angels walking steps angels laughing angels talk its beyond human capabilities or human mind can’t perceive them humans are small beings on this earth creation of god almighty time is not far when the day when everything will be crystal clear ..

  71. People always say that there “has to be life out there because there are so many stars”. However, when you take all the variables necessary for carbon based life forms to exist into account you come up with the odds of all these things combining in just the right way in order to allow life to exist to be 10 x 10^256^256 to 1. That is 10 raised to the power 256 and that number raised again to the power 256. This number is so huge it is far greater than all the stars estimated to be in the entire universe. In fact, it is larger then the number of atoms in the universe: actually, it is even larger then the total number of protons, neutrons, and electrons in the entire universe!! This does not prove anything but it does suggest that simply because the universe is large and has many trillions of stars that does not mean life is inevitable. In fact, it would suggest the opposite.

  72. I forgot to mention, the old canard that we once thought the earth was flat is therefore we can be wrong on this or that is not actually true. We most certainly can be wrong on things, science is always correcting itself on misconceptions (and often scientists are the most difficult people to convince when things are not what we expect). However, it has long long been known the earth was round. There is an icon of Christ painted around the year 300 A.D. or so which depicts him holding the earth in his hand, and what do you know but the thing he is holding is round…not flat. No doubt there were some uneducated folks who believed the earth to be flat but the general “educated” people have known for thousands of years the we live on a round earth.

  73. Ben commented, “…how good Would it be to meet a civilisation that old.” Well we only have our own civilizations to reference, but the growth of man is exponential. If we condense man kind into 50 years then you’ll find that we started walking only a few minutes ago. Think of what we can be like in trillions of years, that is if we’re still around.

  74. Years ago I read all of Carl Sagan’s books. I don’t have them now for reference, but here’s bascially what he said about life beyond earth. He went through the development of the universe after the big bang and thought that the conditions of the universe would not have been hospital to biological life until roughly 5 billon years ago. That civilization would also be nearer to the edge of the universe. So they would have to have evolved into very intelligent beings in order to send a signal strong enough for us to detect. The signal would have to come from an object with quasar like power. And, yes, we would just be a solar system in the making in a far away galaxy. So, they’d have little reason to blast the signal directly to our forming planet. My own take on this is that they may have been able to see our planet very well and determined by our sun and our distance from the sun, that we might become a planet with life, and so, they blasted a signal in our direction. Back to Sagan. Sagan noted that even if they were adept at space travel, at the speed of light, they would have still had to start toward us about 5 billion (or so) years ago, before we were even a real planet. That doesn’t rule out visitors completely, but almost. My thoughts… I tend to think the Wow! Signal, and maybe this recent one, were from intelligent beings only because nothing we can produce on earth (that I know of) could resemble a signal sent 5 billion years ago. At least, that’s my understanding. As for them coming for a visit, I don’t see any rhyme or reason why they would have set out for our solar system, unless, they somehow figured out how to travel faster than the speed of light. I skeptical about that. But then, if beings from another planet have technology that’s thousands of years ahead of us — do we really have an idea what they can do? (Please forgive if my memory of Sagan’s thoughts are inaccurate.)

  75. As a layman, I wonder about the reverse signals that the world has probably been transmitting to other planets in other galaxies and the radio frequencies that might be on their way. Someday some advanced civilization out there would catch these waves and read the entire journey of man on earth and more. If not anything else, this could be a theme for a Hollywood screenplay 🙂

  76. I believe there’s life out there… Some kind of living life but far away enough for us or for someone else that far to make a connection.. I really believe that we are not alone..

  77. The fact that the radio wave was sent from millions of light years away raises a question: How long ago was the wave actually created? As we all know nothing can travel faster than the speed of light, so this radio wave would have to be older than the distance in light years we received it from. This means one of two things: Whatever created that radio wave is now extinct, or they are millions of years ahead of us technologically. One thing is for certain, whatever created this wave is certainly more advanced than a simple eukaryote, or simple bacteria cell with basic organelles. Whatever sent this out was much more advanced, (like us) when they did produce the wave.

  78. The truth will come out one day. The bogus NASA is mis-leading people around the world they are not revealing the actual photos they obtained during their space programs. There are other living species somewhere in the universe that are highly advanced than humans. I think the most important thing we should do is to focus on improving the living conditions in our biosphere so that we could have the chance to live longer.

  79. I know the article says 5.5 by but remember when science thought our highly energetic cosmic rays HAD to be exsolar? And they turned out to be generated by our cloud top particle accelerator? I believe it is possible that the source will be close. We may have several strong magnetic field involved.

  80. Sorry to pop your bubble, but it’s highly unlikely to be connected with any beings. It’s a physical phenomena, most likely the collision/merging of 2 mega black holes or neutron stars. Beyond phenomenal, that a signal (however brief and faint) could be detected after such mega time and distance! Such initial power – projected to an 11 billion light year diameter expanding sphere, wow!

  81. Simply if we detect anything at all from anywhere it will have already have been and gone billions of years ago were only seeing the past play out infront of us, so even if we got a message, who or whatever sends it will have been gone many billion years ago so never being able to sent one back or say hello back very sad to think that so we’re pretty much alone, even getting light from sun takes 8 min you are looking at the past.

  82. Imagine.. if that is caused by some intelligent life 3 billion years ago.
    may be they invented radio communication just then and were playing with it. may be we can watch their radio/tv programs if we can decode the signals properly. some very interesting possibilities.

  83. Maybe there are other civilisations? Maybe there is a bloke called bob (varied equivalent) or a Janet doing his/her shopping; in a shopping mall that happens to be on another variation of Earth? Anyth

  84. Maybe there are other civilisations? Maybe there is a bloke called bob (varied equivalent) or a Janet doing his/her shopping; in a shopping mall that happens to be on another variation of Earth? Anything is possible I suppose.

  85. Maybe it’s an extremly efficient way of mapping out the universe or galaxy i.e. Sonar….. If another intelligent life form sent it & the “pulse” is 5 billion years old perhaps then this “universe sonar” is the most efficient means of mapping & discovering life or resources.

  86. This is really very strange! I was writing some fiction yesterday concerning an entity that was created from the precise alignment of pulsations of quasars, and how such a phenomenon would have to warrant immense control over something like a quasar. And today I see this article. I’d like to think it to be more than coincidence, but I’m sure it’s not 🙂

  87. This news sounds exactly like another I read in 1969 on the papers…. “Mysterious Intense Emissions from the Deep Universe” would be a translation from my language. That is when I learned of quasars.

  88. The signal came from as far as 5.5 billion light-years away and absolutely with speed of 186,282 miles/sec. So, this signal was travel beyond the galaxies before the Earth was made (4.6 billion years ago). Just imagine this, if the voyager 1 will travel with speed 38,610 miles/hour and try to travel the nearest star Alpha Centauri about 4.367 light year and your spaceship will reach the nearest star is about 75,850 years. Imagine that the different speed of signal & voyager 1. Your investigation is complicated and not acceptable for me. Kidding? Thank you

  89. The signal came from as far as 5.5 billion light-years away and absolutely with speed of 186,282 miles/sec. So, this signal was travel beyond the galaxies before the Earth was made (4.6 billion years ago). Just imagine this, if the voyager 1 was travel with speed 38,610 miles/hour and try to travel the nearest star Alpha Centauri about 4.367 light year and the voyager 1 will reach the nearest star Alpha Centauri is about 75,850 years. Just Imagine that the different speed in different age. Your investigation is complicated and not acceptable for me. Kidding? Thank you

  90. This shows just how mysterious and vast our universe (and maybe others in other space/times) is. To those of us who dare to dream and/or love astronomical science and physics, it’s truly the endless source of the ultimate discoveries of all – habitable planets, possible time and light behavior unheard of that could one day force physicists to completely rethink what we think we know, from Einstein to Hawking.
    The mythologies and religions of Earth would collapse if a benevolent or even hostile civilization made itself known to us. We would then realize how primitive thinking is a horrible enemy to our species’ evolution and future. Who knows, maybe we are coming back to visit ourselves after we have mastered time travel and come back to teach how to achieve it.
    Sound nuts? Every idea that messes with convention and tradition is treated as lunacy, but science will have the last laugh.

  91. Even if there are alien civilizations out there, I don’t think we’ll ever know for sure, due to the speed limit. If we learn to break the speed limit, then we will be time travellers. My feeble brain tells me no.

  92. our milky way’s distant is 60 million light year…..the radio waves came just a fraction of second from 5.5 million light year.if u don’t mind,i will combined to help ur research!!!!!!!!!!

  93. Those signals have peculiar “signatures” that suggest their nature. They cannot be reflection of transmissions of ours, nor they can be alien made.
    The probability of the occurrence of life in the universe is high due to the great numbers involved. The coexistence of two intelligent species in two relatively close regions, in the same span of time, both radio-wave capable… that is very unlikely. If we ever get any alien-coms their civilisation, will be likely to be already dead by the time we get the message.
    It is very likely that we are not alone, it is very likely we cannot reach any other civilisation.

  94. It isn’t life returning our radio signals. Not from that distance. Our radio singles haven’t even traveled a micro-fraction of that distance.

  95. We know the Universe is constantly in motion, shifting, expanding, etc. I think before anyone tries to guess the origin of those bursts they first need to calculate a “living map” projecting where certain matter has been over the past several trillion years or so… Just sayin’

  96. We don’t know things because we are too stupid to dismiss everyone’s responses and possibilities. I feel we would know more if we cared about ourselves and our own planet 1st before exploring everything else. I know if I was an alien I wouldn’t care less about Earth until it stoped polluting space.
    An extremely powerful yet short blast of radio waves, sounds as though Jesus and God boogying down with Ray Charles and James Brown. We don’t know.

  97. This article is looking pretty stupid today: http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/may/05/microwave-oven-caused-mystery-signal-plaguing-radio-telescope-for-17-years

    Hi, Margaret — Actually, it’s not. As described in a different blog post, the radio signals produced by microwave ovens are quite different from the fast radio bursts described in this blog entry. Called perytons, the oven-related signals have been known to originate from somewhere near Earth for a while. Just how near was a mystery until a few weeks ago. Fast radio bursts, on the other hand, still look as though they’re coming from very, very far away — and no amount of impatient microwaving can make a fast radio burst appear on command! — ND

  98. If we have cell phone towers to bounce or relay signals till it reaches its intended destination, why not do the same with satellites hundreds of thousands of miles apart or millions of miles apart to act as relay stations. To send and receive messages.

  99. I’m rather late to this thread, but for the benefit of anyone who still comes across this:
    For anyone asking about how they know the distance, they apparently don’t exactly. As the article author Ms. Drake reported, it’s “as far as” — in other words, an upper limit. I’m not an astronomer, but looking at the abstract, they seem to have estimated that based on something called a “dispersion measure”. Alongs the radio photons’ journeys to us, free electrons that they pass by apparently slow down the lower frequency photons more than the higher frequency ones. So if the researchers have some estimate of the density of free electrons in the interstellar and intergalactic mediums in that direction, it can provide an indication of the distance by how much the lower frequency part of the pulse got delayed compared to the high frequency part.

    My searching indicates that this is used for things that reach us in bursts, like pulsars’ beams sweeping by us.


    Anyone who is more knowledgable on this– feel free to correct me, if I’ve erred.

  100. It could be because the sun and earth’s gravitational pull is changing the Axis of earth effecting the magnetic fields. Our planet is now pointing more towards the zodiac star sign of Aquarius this may lead to higher waves of magnetic frequency throughout our solar system and maybe even beyond reaching other solar system’s within our universe. Just a thought

  101. Isn’t it possible that a planet which was about to go up in flames sent out a “HELP US” Signal to another planet in which they knew had life on it?? But that planet went up in flames and the signal just kept floating out into space in tell it hit a planet which just happened to be Earth?? Just throwing that out there!

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