Some claim aliens, while others claim undiscovered stars or space objects, but astronomers call cyclical radio signals from space that have been detected every 16.35 days “absolute mysteries,” according to MIT.
The signal has been classified as an FRB, fast radio burst, named FRB 180916.J0158+65. The FRB consists of extremely powerful radiation flares, lasts only milliseconds and reportedly comes from a single source half a billion light-years from Earth.
Other FRBs exist, but most are either one-off signals or only occur a few times.
For four days, FRB 180916.J0158+65 will spit out a burst or two every hour. Then, it falls silent for 12 days. Then the whole thing repeats, says Science Alert.
Astronomers from The Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) first started studying the FRB in September 2018. They traced its consistent pattern for the next 13 months and then submitted a paper on their findings to arXiv that is being peer reviewed.
Their findings still leave researchers unclear as to what could be causing these deep space signals.
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"The discovery of a 16.35-day periodicity in a repeating FRB source is an important clue to the nature of this object," the researchers wrote in their study.
So, could it be aliens? The MIT Technology Review thinks not.
"The signals are a sign of energetic events that are on the extreme scale of the cosmos. Even a highly intelligent species would be very unlikely to produce energies like this. And there is no detectable pattern so far that would suggest there's a sentient hand at play." —Neel V. Patel of MIT