The far-reaching, astronomical finding that is out-of-this world

Austin Liu, News Editor, Reporter

As more and more time passes by, various scientific fields continue to produce more interesting results for the public. These discoveries lead the way in fascinating breakthroughs that reveal even more possibilities and undiscovered scientific territory to advance forward into for deeper answers. From fields such as acology, the study of medical remedies, to zoonomy, the study of animal physiology, there is a wealth of scientific branches that work together, spending time and effort to contribute in providing more valuable information to the core understandings of science itself. Science progresses through the shared work of many scientists.

Recently, scientists of the specific fields of astrobiology (study of the all extraterrestrial life in the universe), extragalactic astronomy (study of astronomical objects outside of the Milky Way Galaxy) and cosmology (study of the origin and development of the universe), have joined together to study and share their analytical work on astronomical evidence obtained, ultimately, to draw conclusions about what the intentions of it are and find out if it can be associated it with past, proven experimental results.

The evidence scientists discovered that is still puzzling them to now is a series of FRB’s (Fast Radio Bursts) that have reached, been picked up, and examined by scientific observatories across multiple places in the United States.

According to the Astrobites article, “Fast Radio Bursts,”fast radio bursts “are intense bursts of radio emission that have durations of milliseconds”.

The Daily Telegraph website stated that “telescopes first picked up Fast Radio Bursts in 2001 and they have been recorded hitting Earth in a regular pattern ever since. They last just a few milliseconds but seem to carry as much energy as the Sun releases in a month.”

Astronomers with the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia detected five FRB’s, and other astronomers at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico detected one FRB, adding up to six newly discovered  FRB’s that emanated from a region of the universe far from the Milky Way.

Later, these astronomy experts were able to determine that the FRB’s originated somewhere in the direction of the Auriga constellation, about three billion light years away. What is significant about this find is that at least 17 other FRB’s that have previously reached Earth before were detected to have been emitted from this region.

“According to experts, the FRBs could be the result of two things: solar flares from a neutron star or extra-terrestrials,” wrote the New York Post in their article, “Scientists say radio signals from deep space could be aliens.”

One of the more popular and accepted current theories in the astronomical research of the source of how these FRB’s were emitted is the belief that the FRB’s were sent from a neutron far away.

The Daily Telegraph reported through the article, “ ‘Alien’ radio signals are coming from a neutron star in a galaxy far, far away,” that “deep imaging of that region by the Gemini North Telescope in Hawaii turned up an faint dwarf galaxy which was discovered to also emit low-level radio waves. Such galaxies are thought to hold massive, highly magnetic and rapidly rotating neutron stars called magnetars, which could hold enough energy to emit huge solar flares.”

While some scientists think the FRB’s resulted from the release of radio waves, others are testing other possible scientific ideas of how the FRB’s formed.

“Other theories suggest the signals are coming from material which is being jettisoned from the region surrounding a supermassive black hole,” the article continued.

Even other scientists have tried to conclude that these FRB’s could have been a signal transmitted from alien life from places in the universe far from Earth.

Up to this point, the organization, METI International (Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence, has), “pointed the Boquete Optical SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Observatory in Panama toward FRB 121102 starting Tuesday [Jan. 3] evening and has so far spent a total of about an hour searching for evidence of advanced civilizations in the neighborhood,” according to the CNET article, “Source of weird space signals turns out to be weird, too.”

On the local level, there is no real formal curriculum in classes at Fayetteville Public Schools that studies and focuses class time for a unit over the astronomical topic of extraterrestrial life.

For now, however, the scientific community is yet to reveal more interesting information that might solve the puzzle to advance the field of astronomy closer to possibly answering the big, mindblowing question of “Do aliens really exist in the universe, and if so, where and what kind of civilizations have they created?” It is the future of science that will tell.

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