Extremely powerful extragalactic radio burst

I found this online today and it’s pretty neat. An undergrad at West Virginia University discovered an extrememly powerful extragalactic radio burst in archived data from Parkes radio dish in Australia. The signal lasted only 5 milliseconds but in that time released approxiamately the same amount of energy the Sun puts out in a month. They’re not really sure what it is, but it’s very interesting. One hypothesis is that it’s the result of two merging neutron stars, but data archived by gamma ray observatories show no corresponding signals that would be expected during a merger. Another hypothesis is that the burst of energy came from a black hole evaporating completely from Hawking Radiation.

Whatever it is, it reminds me of the WOW! signal.

It came from the Small Magellanic Cloud, a companion galaxy to the Milky Way:

Hubble Space Telescope/NASA


Anonymous said...

Very cool!

Let's hope it manages to avoid being instantly labeled as human induced radio interference in a knee jerk reaction from the skeptics like the WOW! signal was - it would be nice to see some actual research put into the signal before it gets written off.

Kira said...

I think it's more likely that they'll be looking at the radio burst as signs of massive gravitational waves than of ETI. As far as I can tell, ETI is the furthest thing from their minds at the moment.

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