Breakthrough Listen Detects Repeating Fast Radio Bursts from the Distant Universe

The Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array located in central New Mexico

"In 2015, it was the first FRB seen to repeat, ruling out theories of the bursts' origins that involved the catastrophic destruction of the progenitor (at least in this particular instance)", the statement read.

Backed by Mark Zuckerberg, Stephen Hawking, and the billionaire entrepreneur Yuri Milner, The Breakthrough Listen initiative was able to record these unusual signals thanks to the Green Bank Telescope, in West Virginia, the Parkes Radio Telescope in Australia, and the Automated Planet Finder of the Lick Observatory, in Mt Hamilton, California. An Indian scientist, working with a million dollar global project "Breakthrough Lister" has succeeded detecting 15 mysterious, repeating Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs), coming from a distant dwarf Galaxy.

FRBs from this source have never been seen at such high frequencies, explained Andrew Siemion, director of the Berkeley SETI Research Center and Breakthrough Listen, the highest of which reached 7 GHz.

Fast radio bursts from across the universe have been detected before, but this marks the first time they have been repetitious, suggesting they're not random but rather a planned disbursement from an advanced civilization used to power power space aircraft. FRB 121102 was discovered on November 2, 2012, (hence its name) and in 2015 it was the first fast radio burst seen to repeat, ruling out theories of bursts' origins that involved the catastrophic destruction of the progenitor, at least in this instance.

The new results are reported as an Astronomer's Telegram at www.astronomerstelegram.org/?read=10675 and will be described in further detail in an upcoming scientific journal article.

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In 2012, a FRB named 121102 was observed for the first time. And less than a week ago, they observed 15 Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) coming from a dwarf galaxy located three billion light-years away. Over 400 terabytes of data was pulled in over a five hour period, as the researchers scanned the 4 to 8 GHz frequency band.

"We clearly have much more to learn about FRB 121102, and FRBs in general", Siemion told the online technology site, Gizmodo. "Life on Earth consisted of only single-celled organisms, and it would be another billion years before even the simplest multi-cellular life began to evolve". The distinctive shape that the dispersion imposes on the initial pulse is an indicator of the amount of material between us and the source, and hence an indicator of the distance to the host galaxy.

Analysis by Dr. Gajjar and the Listen team revealed 15 new pulses from FRB 121102. Breakthrough Listen is the biggest initiative till date that aims to find evidence of extraterrestrial life forms. Two, whatever happened has happened across a span of years; remember, these radio waves have to travel across space to be picked up by our telescope.

"While it would be unwise to exclude the possibility that there are is other intelligent, technologically-capable, life in our universe, it is also unwise to immediately ascribe any new and poorly-understood astronomical phenomena to the work of alien life", added Loeb.

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