Cosmology Intelligent Design Physics

So what’s been making the fast radio bursts?

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Not aliens. We are told that they are made by magnetars, a type of neutron star:

We didn’t even know that FRBs existed until 2007 but have since cataloged hundreds of them; some come from sources that repeatedly emit them, while others seem to burst once and go silent …

Those suspicions have now been borne out, as astronomers have watched a magnetar in our own galaxy sending out an FRB at the same time it emitted pulses of high-energy gamma rays. This doesn’t answer all our questions, as we’re still not sure how the FRBs are produced or why only some of the gamma-ray outbursts from this magnetar are associated with FRBs. But the confirmation will give us a chance to look more carefully at the extreme physics of magnetars as we try to understand what’s going on.

John Timmer, “We finally know what has been making fast radio bursts” at Ars Technica

See also: Harvard Astronomer Is Back: Radio Bursts Could Be Aliens

2 Replies to “So what’s been making the fast radio bursts?

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    The problem with radio waves is that the are far too slow to be an effective form of interstellar communication. As others have pointed out, how could you possibly administer an interstellar Federation or Galactic Empire when a message might take hundreds of years to reach its destination and hundreds more years before a reply was received.

    This is not a new insight, either. As a small boy, I remember watching an episode from a TV series made around 1960 called, I think, Men Into Space set in what was then the near future. In this episode a radio telescope on a small Moon base picked up a signal of extraterrestrial origin that they believed came from an alien intelligence. When they pinpointed the source star it was hundreds of light-years away. The base scientists realized that whoever sent the signal could well be long dead and that, if they transmitted a reply, it wouldn’t arrive until long after they were dead. For me, that was a chilling insight into just how big space really is.

  2. 2
    polistra says:

    I don’t know why anyone would have attributed this sort of thing to aliens anyway. Periodic emissions, like sunrise and sunset and moon phases and electromagnetic waves, are basic physics. Communication and information are non-periodic and non-predictable by definition. They may use a wave as the carrier, but there will always be a non-predictable modulation imposed on the carrier.

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