by Katie Kausch
For the past decade, scientists have reported hearing short, intense bursts of radio activity coming from somewhere in space. Could it be aliens trying to make friends with us? Are they trying to share their alien Top 40 radio?
These short bursts (officially called Fast Radio Bursts, or FRB's) probably come from a super-magnetic area of space, most likely because of supernovas or new stars forming, according to the National Science Foundation's Green Bank Telescope astronomy team.
Scientists looked at over 40 terabytes of data (which is 2,500 standard sized iPhones worth of info) to try and figure out where the FRB's were coming from. Because of the "dispersion delay," which is when a radio signal gets messed up while traveling long distances, the astronomers were able to determine that the FRB's traveled as many as 6 billion light years to reach our telescopes.
They also found one FRB that was more polarized than the others, something that can only come from intense magnetization. "This tells us something about the magnetic field that the burst traveled through on its way to us, giving a hint about the burst's environment," Kiyoshi Masui, one of the scientists who worked on the report, told Phys.org. "It also gives the theorists a bit more to work with when they come up with explanations for these bursts."
Despite this new finding, no one is 100% sure where this cosmic phenomenon originates from, they're just a lot closer to an answer.
Let's be real though- I think we all know these radio signals are the aliens way of trying to tell us how much they love Protozoa's music, Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century style.