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Space By Joe Burgett -

Mysterious Space Signals That Could Be Alien Communication
[Image via The Planetary Society]

The Lorimer Burst

Unlike some of the fast radio bursts that we have discovered over the years, the Lorimer Burst has yet to be fully explained. Named after its discoverer, Duncan Lorimer, this FRB was picked up by the Parkes Radio Telescope in Australia. During one 2007 evening, a burst came through that was so short and intense, it was assumed to be a glitch in the data. However, after careful investigation, it was later determined to be a real astrophysical event. To this day, the cause of the burst is still unknown. Of course, some scientists have tried to explain it or find potential causes that make more sense.

Mysterious Space Signals That Could Be Alien Communication
[Image via CHIME Radio Telescope]
Others, however, have chosen to claim it was a signal from some type of extraterrestrial civilization. It was certainly an interesting FRB to observe. As referenced above, fast radio bursts are named as they are because of the major burst of energy that moves fast. Essentially, they last a short period of time. Yet most of the time, you’re going to have something last for up to three seconds. The fact this moved so quickly made us pay a lot more attention, giving us the knowledge that bursts can last just milliseconds. Since 2007, we have more advanced equipment to pick up FRBs. Yet the Lorimer Burst still remains one of our big cosmic mysteries.

Mysterious Space Signals That Could Be Alien Communication
[Image via Space.com]

Tabby’s Star Mystery

Given the scientific name of KIC 8462852, the Tabby’s Star system has been a favorite for astronomers and scientists. It is known for exhibiting unusual light fluctuations that for years were impossible to fully explain. This led many to assume that some sort of alien megastructure was there. This would make sense, especially if some advanced civilization was using some sort of Dyson Sphere. The star was discovered by citizen scientists as part of the Planet Hunters project in September 2015. Of course, this discovery was made using the Kepler Space Telescope. It is important to reference the use of Kepler here.

Mysterious Space Signals That Could Be Alien Communication
[Image via Dottedhippo/iStock/Getty Images Plus]
This was designed to observe changes in the brightness of distant stars in an effort to detect exoplanets. Kepler was extremely effective, as we’ve discovered hundreds of exoplanets since it was launched. What of Tabby’s Star though, why is it dimming roughly 22% in brightness off and on? Scientists have laid out several possibilities, including the presence of interstellar dust. It was also said that the star swallowed a planet, causing a temporary and unobserved increase in brightness due to the release of gravitational energy. By 2019, the prevailing theory is that dimmings from the star may have produced fragments resulting from the disruption of an orphaned exomoon. Regardless of the true reason, this star remains one of our biggest cosmic mysteries.

Mysterious Space Signals That Could Be Alien Communication
[Image via Universal Pictures]

Alien Signals We’re Looking For Or Those We Think We’ve Detected

What types of things are we truly looking for when we discuss alien communication? Apparently, scientists are looking for a lot of things. The idea is that if aliens are trying to communicate with other sentient beings, they would do so through natural means in the universe. Any advanced society would be smart enough to do this, as it would make the most sense. This means that, by altering or using notable natural universal options, we’ll be able to pick up on that. For example, we’re watching for x-ray flares that might follow a specific pattern as well as optical/infrared signals that are modulated in an explainable way. On top of this, we’re keeping an eye on ultraviolet signals that follow specific sequences.

Mysterious Space Signals That Could Be Alien Communication
[Image via Joe Burgett]
Ultimately, we’re looking for several based on radiation such as microwave or cosmic radiation that might show a specific frequency or degree of coherence. Extremely low-frequency, or ELF, electromagnetic waves that follow a specific pattern are also being followed. This is along with gravitational waves that do the same. Perhaps the biggest is following infrasound or acoustic signals, especially because space tends to lack very much sound as it is. Therefore, any sort of sound that can be heard is worth exploring. We’ve detected a lot of these over the years, some have yet to be explained while others have. Either way, the cosmic mysteries we’re uncovering constantly have been exciting for scientists. Because what if one day we do uncover true alien communication?

 

Where Do We Find This Stuff? Here Are Our Sources:

United States Library of Congress

United States Department of Defense

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

United States Department of Justice

United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA)

European Space Agency (ESA)

Canadian Space Agency (CSA)

New York Times

Harvard University

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