Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments

SoylentNews is people

posted by on Thursday April 02 2015, @08:19AM   Printer-friendly
from the leave-a-message-after-the-beep dept.

BURSTS of radio waves flashing across the sky seem to follow a mathematical pattern. If the pattern is real, either some strange celestial physics is going on, or the bursts are artificial, produced by human – or alien – technology.

Telescopes have been picking up so-called fast radio bursts (FRBs) since 2001. They last just a few milliseconds and erupt with about as much energy as the sun releases in a month. Ten have been detected so far, most recently in 2014, when the Parkes Telescope in New South Wales, Australia, caught a burst in action for the first time. The others were found by sifting through data after the bursts had arrived at Earth. No one knows what causes them, but the brevity of the bursts means their source has to be small – hundreds of kilometers across at most – so they can't be from ordinary stars. And they seem to come from far outside the galaxy.

The weird part is that they all fit a pattern that doesn't match what we know about cosmic physics.

 
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2015, @08:36AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2015, @08:36AM (#165759)

    One piece of information I couldn't find (though I only scanned through the actual paper, so I might have missed it there) is the directions those bursts came from. Did they all come from the same direction in the sky (relative to the stars)? Or are they all from different directions?

    If all directions are the same, I'd see that as a strong hint that they are indeed coming from outside the solar system. Otherwise, I'd consider the satellite hypothesis far more likely.

    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Thursday April 02 2015, @12:51PM

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 02 2015, @12:51PM (#165804) Journal

      One piece of information I couldn't find ... is the directions those bursts came from.

      From the direction of the one-eyed monster [wikipedia.org]. Better call Veronica.

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0 https://soylentnews.org/~MichaelDavidCrawford
      • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Thursday April 02 2015, @05:32PM

        by maxwell demon (1608) on Thursday April 02 2015, @05:32PM (#165879) Journal

        Sorry, but Veronica [wikipedia.org] is no longer available.

        --
        The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by FatPhil on Thursday April 02 2015, @09:21AM

    by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Thursday April 02 2015, @09:21AM (#165765) Homepage
    "They last just a few milliseconds and erupt with about as much energy as the sun releases in a month."

    Yes, *clearly it's aliens*, or humans, which have managed to harness something a billion times as powerful as the sun.

    Was the physics of pulsars explained before or after they were discovered? Why should the physics of this be any different?
    Then again, that's a shit example - pulsars were "LGM-1". This is just "LGM-2", I guess.

    ALIENS!
    --
    Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
    • (Score: 5, Informative) by dublet on Thursday April 02 2015, @09:55AM

      by dublet (2994) on Thursday April 02 2015, @09:55AM (#165771)

      And indeed the wikipedia page on FRBs [wikipedia.org] has a few theories outlined, none of which involve little green men:

      Because of the isolated nature of the observed phenomenon, the nature of the source remains speculative. As of 2015, there is no generally accepted explanation. The emission region is estimated to be no larger than a few hundred kilometers. If the bursts come from cosmological distances, their sources must be very bright.[9] One possible explanation would be a collision between very dense objects like black holes or neutron stars. Blitzars [wikipedia.org] are another proposed explanation.[9] It has been suggested that there is a connection to gamma ray bursts [wikipedia.org].[10] More recently, it has been proposed that FRBs could be originated in black hole explosions: if so, FRBs would be the first detection of Quantum Gravity [wikipedia.org] effects.[11]

      • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Thursday April 02 2015, @02:44PM

        by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Thursday April 02 2015, @02:44PM (#165839) Homepage
        Holy jeebus, that's a badly written page, as are the majority of the pages it links to. Reliability measurement - didn't cause my needle to twitch.
        --
        Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
    • (Score: 2) by francois.barbier on Thursday April 02 2015, @12:10PM

      by francois.barbier (651) on Thursday April 02 2015, @12:10PM (#165791)

      We are not even a Kardashev [wikipedia.org] Type I civilization. A Type III would do that easily.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by FatPhil on Thursday April 02 2015, @02:31PM

        by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Thursday April 02 2015, @02:31PM (#165834) Homepage
        And as we creep up from Sagan's 0.7 estimate towards 1.0 we'll be all puffed up with our own intelligence. Until we realise we have mechanism for getting above 1.0, and we suddenly J-curve back down to 0 again...

        Being less pessimistic, I think we might reach level 3 by harnessing all the energy of those angels as they dance on a pinhead.
        --
        Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2015, @12:29PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2015, @12:29PM (#165798)

      Of course the amount of energy they release is based on the calculated distance. If they are actually satellite signals (distance of about 300km instead of 1.6 billion light years = 1.5 × 1022 km, a factor of 2 × 10-20), then according to the inverse square law, an energy of "one sun-month" (ca. 1033 J) suddenly reduces to an energy output of 2² × 1033 - 40 J, or 40 µJ. At 5 ms duration, this gives a power of about 40 µJ/5 ms = 8 mW. Not extraordinary large; rather quite small for a satellite. But then, if it's a secret spy satellite, maybe they intentionally made it weak so it isn't detected by standard receiving equipment.

    • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 03 2015, @01:32AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 03 2015, @01:32AM (#165992)

      Obviously, dark matter is attempting to communicate with us.

  • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2015, @09:45AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2015, @09:45AM (#165767)

    Just residual energy bursts from the nuclear war that destroyed the last civilization that got too smart for itself...

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by inertnet on Thursday April 02 2015, @09:54AM

    by inertnet (4071) on Thursday April 02 2015, @09:54AM (#165769) Journal

    TFA says that low frequencies arrive here with a multiple of 187.5 second delay after the high frequencies from the same event. They use this information to roughly calculate distance traveled. Could relativity around an even horizon around a black hole also cause such delays in frequency 'release'? For example, if the spinning axis of a black hole is pointed directly at us, something falling into the black hole might cause radio waves to be emitted along this axis, but of course with a delay. We cannot see the material falling in, we just see the effect it has on one pole of the black hole. Could that be an explanation?

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2015, @12:45PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2015, @12:45PM (#165802)

      Could relativity around an even horizon around a black hole also cause such delays in frequency 'release'?

      No. Relativity affects all frequencies the same way.

      However, a different (non-dark) matter distribution might make a difference: This delay is caused by dispersion due to the matter between us and the event; if the matter is distributed differently than we think, the index of refraction and thus the dispersion will also be different. Underestimating the density of interstellar matter would probably cause overestimation of the distance (and thus also of the total power) of those events.

      • (Score: 1) by inertnet on Thursday April 02 2015, @08:35PM

        by inertnet (4071) on Thursday April 02 2015, @08:35PM (#165930) Journal

        Yes, but the problem with that is that all these events would originate at only 5 or so different distances that are all mathematically linked, but their direction is random as far as we know. That's about as likely as them being side effects of wormholes being opened by some spaceship.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Covalent on Thursday April 02 2015, @11:39AM

    by Covalent (43) on Thursday April 02 2015, @11:39AM (#165781) Journal

    ...except Europa. Attempt no landings there.

    Side note: That's the entire line from the book 2010. In the movie, they added the cheesiest "Use them together...use them in peace" crap to the simple line that was originally written. The addition was such a ham-fisted "STOP THE COLD WAR" plug. Bleck.

    --
    You can't rationally argue somebody out of a position they didn't rationally get into.
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by JNCF on Thursday April 02 2015, @06:57PM

      by JNCF (4317) on Thursday April 02 2015, @06:57PM (#165903) Journal

      I really like the book version of the line, and would prefer it if this generation of scientists didn't fuck around with whatever is under Europa's ice sheets. Even atmospheric entry could bungle things up beyond repair. If there is life on/in Europa I'd hate to see our crude modern tools infecting the ocean with waterbears [wikipedia.org] and other Earthly biology.

      Minor nitpicks: I'm pretty sure the line was in the first book (2001), I've never read 2010. I'm also under the impression that Clark and Kubrick were collaborating with each other while producing the book and film versions of 2001. It might not be correct to say that the film version "added" to the line "as originally written." I don't know which version was released first, but it either way it's probably incorrect to view one as an adaptation of the other. They're different riffs on the same story.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2015, @09:17PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2015, @09:17PM (#165945)

        I'm also under the impression that Clark and Kubrick were collaborating with each other while producing the book and film versions of 2001.

        As I understand it, they were. I've got a book about the making of it, cannot recall the title of it and it's in a box somewhere, and they mention that Kubrick deliberately withheld his approval of the book so as to not hurt the release of the film./

      • (Score: 2) by TK on Thursday April 02 2015, @09:32PM

        by TK (2760) on Thursday April 02 2015, @09:32PM (#165950)

        Arthur C. Clarke talks about collaborating with Kubrick in the foreword to an audiobook version of 2001: A Space Odyssey that you can find on youtube [youtube.com].

        As for that line, it's not in 2001, you may be thinking of "My god, it's full of stars", which is in the novel but not the movie.

        --
        The fleas have smaller fleas, upon their backs to bite them, and those fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum
        • (Score: 2) by JNCF on Thursday April 02 2015, @10:44PM

          by JNCF (4317) on Thursday April 02 2015, @10:44PM (#165966) Journal

          You're totally right. I guess I'm not sure where I got it from (probably a friend or a wiki), but the line has definitely been bumping around my meat-drive for a while with (evidently wrong) neural links to the book version of 2001.

  • (Score: 5, Funny) by fritsd on Thursday April 02 2015, @11:41AM

    by fritsd (4586) on Thursday April 02 2015, @11:41AM (#165782) Journal

    Decoded, it says: "PLEASE INSERT NEXT COIN TO CONTINUE THIS SIMULATION"

    • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Thursday April 02 2015, @11:56AM

      by Thexalon (636) on Thursday April 02 2015, @11:56AM (#165787)

      And here I was expecting "WE APOLOGIZE FOR THE INCONVENIENCE".

      --
      The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
  • (Score: 5, Funny) by Phoenix666 on Thursday April 02 2015, @12:56PM

    by Phoenix666 (552) on Thursday April 02 2015, @12:56PM (#165806) Journal

    The message has been decoded [google.com]. It has three parts:

    "Replacement part is being rushed with all possible speed."

    "Be patient. We haven't forgotten about you."

    "You will be on your way before you know it."

    --
    Washington DC delenda est.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2015, @01:13PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2015, @01:13PM (#165814)

      Nah,

      PEOPLE OF EARTH YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE ...

    • (Score: 2) by PinkyGigglebrain on Thursday April 02 2015, @03:20PM

      by PinkyGigglebrain (4458) on Thursday April 02 2015, @03:20PM (#165843)

      i didn't know the UWTB used radio frequencies!

      --
      "Beware those who would deny you Knowledge, For in their hearts they dream themselves your Master."
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Gravis on Thursday April 02 2015, @02:00PM

    by Gravis (4596) on Thursday April 02 2015, @02:00PM (#165830)

    the universe has a funny way of generating patterns. it's seems far more likely to be something interesting like part of a huge gamma ray burst that got redirected (multiple times?) than an alien technology.

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by GreatAuntAnesthesia on Thursday April 02 2015, @02:42PM

      by GreatAuntAnesthesia (3275) on Thursday April 02 2015, @02:42PM (#165838) Journal

      Maybe it has something to do with gravitational lensing: We are seeing the same event again and again, arriving at different times because different products of the event are taking different routes around a large gravity well. The mathematical patterns are due to the orbital rhythms of various bodies within the gravity well (binary / trinary system?)

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Translation Error on Thursday April 02 2015, @06:43PM

      by Translation Error (718) on Thursday April 02 2015, @06:43PM (#165899)

      the universe has a funny way of generating patterns.

      And we're one of the funniest ways.

  • (Score: 2) by JNCF on Thursday April 02 2015, @10:36PM

    by JNCF (4317) on Thursday April 02 2015, @10:36PM (#165964) Journal

    You're totally right. Now I'm not sure where I got it from (probably a friend or a wiki), but the line has definitely been bumping around my meat-drive for a while with (evidently wrong) neural links to the book version of 2001.

    • (Score: 1) by JNCF on Thursday April 02 2015, @10:42PM

      by JNCF (4317) on Thursday April 02 2015, @10:42PM (#165965) Journal

      Bah, this was intended as a reply to another comment (reposted above). First time I've tried posting a comment with elinks.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 03 2015, @05:43AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 03 2015, @05:43AM (#166033)

    Which scientists found this pattern? Were they asked to find this pattern?

    You see, the powers that be are slowly letting their human subjects in on the whole Alien thing so we would not be surprised when the Aliens land in the middle of multiple human cities, and their landings cannot be covered up or ignored any longer, and this information cannot be controlled.

    It has been a long time that they have been using Alien technology on us (mind reading, mind control, advanced weapons and much, much more).

    This is no joke, and there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of smart, intelligent people who interacted with Aliens. What we human "subjects" should be doing is telling the authorities to let us in on all this information and technology, because it must not be a small group of people who own this planet, rather its us who do. The planet belongs to its inhabitants, not some shadowy group, and certainly not some red shield group.