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Alien-hunting telescope picks up mysterious ‘whistle-like’ repeating radio signal from deep space

Alien-hunting telescope picks up mysterious ‘whistle-like’ repeating radio signal from deep space

The signals from space have mystified astronomers somewhat.

The universe is full of mysteries and scientists are constantly on the hunt to unlock them. But every now and then, something comes along that leaves them completely flummoxed.

Cue the latest galactic head-scratcher: a series of strange, whistle-like radio signals emanating from the depths of space.

Dubbed as “cosmic slide whistles” by the folks at the SETI Institute, these signals aren’t your bog standard space noise.

A series of strange, whistle-like radio signals can be heard from space.

Picked up by the Allen Telescope Array (ATA), a device specifically designed to scan the skies for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence, this has got the scientific community buzzing.

So, what exactly are these signals? Well, they’re called Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs), and they're essentially intense bursts of electromagnetic radiation.

FRBs themselves aren't new to science, these enigmatic signals are thought to originate from neutron stars or colossal stellar collisions. However, no one really knows much about them.

What’s more, the recent discovery by the SETI Institute has thrown a spanner into the works. Published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, the findings detail the characteristics of these FRBs - and why they’re not average.

What's really caught the attention of the astronomers is the bizarre change in frequency found in the bursts. The 35 FRBs detected showed a consistent drop in their center frequency over two months of observation - a pattern that's never been seen before. This is why scientists have been left scratching their heads.

Lead study author Sofia Sheikh from the SETI Institute shed some light on the cosmic mystery in a statement:

“This work is exciting because it provides both confirmation of known FRB properties and the discovery of some new ones.

Alien-hunting telescope picks up mysterious ‘whistle-like’ repeating radio signal from deep space.
Getty illustration

“We're narrowing down the source of FRBs, for example, to extreme objects such as magnetars, but no existing model can explain all of the properties that have been observed so far. It has been wonderful to be part of the first FRB study done with the ATA - this work proves that new telescopes with unique capabilities, like the ATA, can provide a new angle on outstanding mysteries in FRB science."

With these signals, researchers are hoping to inch closer to unraveling what the FRBs are all about. Are they proof of other lifeforms?

Some scientists believe so, hoping that the repeating signals could harbor some kind of alien message.

And it’s not just about finding E.T, either. Understanding these signals could shed light on some fundamental questions about our universe.

As the SETI Institute puts it, the milestone discovery marks a “significant step forward” in the ongoing quest to unravel the secrets of extreme objects in the universe.

“As scientists continue to explore the cosmos, each unique feature that we discover brings us closer to understanding the origins and nature of these captivating cosmic signals,” said the research organization.

Featured Image Credit: Credit: ferrantraite / Getty Steven Puetzer / Getty