ALIEN signals? Scientists identify object 500m lightyears away sending signals to Earth

The signals have long-baffled astronomers since their discovery six years ago as their origin had been a total mystery. But now, one sporadic radio burst source found millions of lightyears away has a very specific pattern. Though scientists still do not know the cause of such radio bursts, it has been found that the source is transmitting signals that are hitting Earth every 16 days without fail.

Duncan Lorimer, an astrophysicist at West Virginia University in Morgantown, told Science news: “This is very significant.

“It's potentially going to take us in an interesting direction to get to the bottom of these repeaters.”

The source is firing out a signal for a few milliseconds once every hour, every hour for four days.

It then appears to go silent for 12 days before picking back up again and resuming its 16-day cycle.

It is the first time a FRB pattern has been found by astronomers.

What they have ruled out is alien communication, however.

They believe that 16 days for a message from other life in space would be impractical and inefficient.

Astronomers speculate the reason they are currently unable to source where the pattern is coming from may be due to it being in orbit.

Bing Zhang at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, told New Scientist: “Such a periodicity, if confirmed, would be the first smoking-gun signature [of any particular property of an FRB source], which points towards very likely orbital motion.”

Those investigating also do not know if the repeating signal is an anomaly or the norm.

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The first was spotted - or heard rather - in 2001.

But it was not officially discovered until 2007 when scientists were analysing data from their archives.

Astronomers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics say FRBs can be used to study the structure and evolution of the universe.

They can also be used to trace how and why the fog of hydrogen atoms may have broken down.

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