Radio signals from space : Are aliens trying to talk to us?

Last updated at 06:20
Highly magnetised rotating neutron star: This could be a source of the signalsGetty Images
Artwork: A highly magnetised rotating neutron star. Astronomers say one of these could be a source of the signals

Scientists have discovered mysterious signals coming from a galaxy 1.5 billion light years away. They were picked up by a telescope in Canada.

The precise cause of the blasts of radio waves is unknown.

There are a number of theories about what could be causing them.

They include exploding stars, stars with strong magnetic fields, stars merging together and - among a minority of observers - some form of alien spaceship!

Canada's new radio telescope, CHIMECHIME experiment
Canada's new radio telescope, CHIME is made up of four 100-metre-long antennas, which scan the entire northern sky each day.

What did the telescope find?

Canada's CHIME radio telescope detected 13 fast radio bursts, known as FRBs. It also heard a very unusual repeating signal, coming from the same source about 1.5 billion light years away.

This is only the second time that fast radio bursts have been detected.

Studying FRBs is difficult because they are so rare. Therefore, the signals have remained a mystery, with little evidence at all of where they might be coming from.

The flashes only last for a millisecond and has the same amount of energy as the sun produces in a year.

Scientists are planning on studying the radio waves and hope that this new discovery will allow them to answer the mystery of what deep space might be trying to tell us!

We haven't solved the problem, but it's several more pieces in the puzzle

Tom Landecker, CHIME team member from the National Research Council of Canada.

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