Thursday, July 04, 2013

Mystery Signal From the Past

Astronomers using the 210 foot CSIRO Parks radio telescope located in Australia have detected a radio source from 10 billion light years away!

The drama, though, started in 2007 when astronomers were studying a whole sky survey from 2001.  What immediately stood out was an incredibly powerful and extremely short, about 5 millisecond, a curiously short duration, one that was never again, until seven years to the day.

As odd as this sounds, there's more.  The first time it was recorded, the burst was so short it was somewhat doubtful that it had really happened at all.  So when the bursts started again after more than half a decade, astronomers were anxious to study the data.  However their results didn't seem to make sense.  

First, the events seem to come from an unbelievable distance, well outside the Milkyway.  Being as bright as the events were, and the distance involved, they had to be something cataclysmic.  Something along the line of  neutron stars merging or black holes, a dying magnetar, or a black hole feasting on a star, the bursts coming from huge amounts of stellar material dropping through the event horizon.  One thing is clear however.  These bursts came from so far away that when they started the universe was only half as old as it's present age, or 6 to 9 billion years old.

The implications are numerous but it may be very likely that they shed some light on the Universe's missing matter.

One thing however seems to be apparent, the initial "quiet" time between bursts.  It seems that bursts like these should be happening every 10 seconds if the sky could be observed completely by large radio telescopes.


kallamis said...

How did I miss this one. Probably because I got caught up in the one where our old TV signals are bouncing back to us. And the best part of this is that they are now starting to collect old Doctor Who programs that were lost to fire. No kidding. That's what the article says. I just stumbled across it last night. We might just get all the old episodes back after all. That would be cool as hell. To recover the episodes lost, thanks to a rebound process from space. And it's the Doctor. Now you just don't get a cooler situation than that.

Beam Me Up said...

I have never figured out how this "rebound" was supposed to work, but hey, who the hell am I? lol but here is a thought.....Mass curves space/time. All of the universe's mass then HAS to curve space back onto it's self, forming an expanding globe. All of space and time reside inside the globe. So if you resided on the outside of the globe, the signal would come back 180 degrees out of sync but if we are inside, the it stands to reason that the signal would have to continue on an apparent straight line forever.....right?

kallamis said...

Well, provided it doesn't hit anything that can rebound it,like metallic asteroids, or something. I think it works sort of the same as light reflection. Light hits something it can't pass through, lets say a mirror, and it rebounds back. And we have all played with echoes at a canyon or somewhere. Basically the same thing just different. At least that is the way I try and understand it.