Repetitive radio bursts have been recorded coming from space for a second time

CHIME array

A repeating radio burst from a galaxy 1.5 billion light years away has been recorded. This is only the second time in human history that a phenomenon like this has been observed.

On the previous occassion, in 2015, the FRB 121102 burst was discovered by the Arecibo radio telescope.

The new repeating fast radio burst has been named FRB 180814.J0422+73 and was recorded six times coming from the same source by scientists from Canada's Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) radio telescope.

The flashes only last for a millisecond but have the equivalent amount of energy to what the sun produces in a year.

The CHIME radio telescope also detected 12 singular fast radio bursts in the summer of 2018.

Astronomers have yet to explain what produces these rapid-fire beams of electromagnetic waves but there are a number of theories about what could cause them.

These include exploding stars, stars with strong magnetic fields, stars merging together and yes, even the activites of alien lifeforms. For example Avi Loeb, a Harvard astronomer, has proposed that FRBs might be powerful energy beams used to propel alien spacecraft or probe through space.

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