For years, powerful radio signals from space have given rise to speculation about extraterrestrial life. Now the source of the signals has been determined: an object three billion light-years from Earth.
For a number of years, telescopes on Earth have been receiving powerful radio signals that vary in type and length but come from the same place in the universe.
The signals have been baptized FRB 121102 and have led to speculation as to whether intelligent extraterrestrial life is trying to contact us.
Recently researchers from the University of Amsterdam, Leiden University, ASTRON and JIVE have determined the home address of the signals in the universe.
According to the researchers, they are probably from a neutron star with a diameter of 10 kilometers in a dwarf galaxy three billion light years from Earth.
Neutron stars attract their environment
Neutron stars are relatively small objects that carry enormous powers.
They arise when big stars explode like supernova.
After the explosion, the core of the star collapses, resulting in a small but heavy neutron star.
Due to its enormous mass, the neutron star has an extremely high gravity that pulls on the environment.
Neutron star is in an extreme environment
The researchers who discovered the neutron star with a diameter of 10 kilometers write that the object is in an extremely ionized environment and is surrounded by a strong magnetic field.
Living as we know it cannot live in such an environment. Yet the researchers do not entirely reject the hypothesis that the signals come from extraterrestrial life.
However, they still do not know exactly how the signals originate.
Now that the origin of the signals is known, astronomers can better investigate the phenomenon in the future.