When the Earth’s scientific tools detect radio signals coming from the depths of the Galaxy, the first thing that comes to mind is that an advanced alien civilization is trying to communicate with us. Such a scenario may not actually be what humanity needs, as alien civilizations might not exactly be willing to shake hands and reveal to us the secrets of the Universe. You know what they say: be careful what you wish for!
Those who are enthusiastic about aliens will have to wait a lot more for an encounter with such creatures. The powerful radio signal that the astronomers discovered is not caused by any extraterrestrial friends or foes.
A Fast Radio Burst (FRB) is the culprit
Although a fast radio burst (FRB) is confirmed to be the cause of the powerful radio signal that’s coming from the Galaxy, the funny part is that scientists are still not sure what could cause an FRB. These latter phenomenons are intense flashes of radio emissions that are only lasting for a few milliseconds.
Multiple telescopes detected a bright FRB several months ago, and its source is the galactic magnetar SGR 1935+2154. In only a millisecond, the magnetar created as much energy as the Sun does in 30 seconds. For those unaware, magnetars are young neutron stars that are the most magnetic objects known. Furthermore, scientists always suspected that magnetars are the source of radio bursts in general.
The SGR 1935+2154 magnetar is also a soft gamma repeater (SGR) from the Vulpecula constellation located 30,000 light-years away. For those of you disappointed that humanity didn’t yet discover alien life, there’s no use losing hope just yet. The Universe is far bigger than anyone could ever imagine, and it has more stars than there are grains of sand in all the beaches of the world.
Brian Dan is just getting his feet wet as a tech reporter but has already had his work featured in many major publications including Tech Spot and Tech Crunch. In regards to academics, Brian earned a degree in business from Fordham University. Brian has a passion for emerging technology and covers upcoming products and breakthroughs in science and tech.