MIT reports 'unusual' radio signal from a 'far-off galaxy'

MIT reports 'unusual' radio signal from a 'far-off galaxy'

The term “far-off galaxy” is often used in connection with science fiction novels and films, but far-off galaxies really do exist. And the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), according to the Boston Globe, is reporting an “unusual” radio signal from a far-off galaxy.

According to Boston Globe reporter Martin Finucane, “The signal is a fast radio burst, an intensely strong burst of radio waves, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said in a statement. Usually, the mysterious signals last for a few milliseconds at most. But this one lasted up to three seconds and included bursts of radio waves every 0.2 seconds, in a clear periodic pattern."

The signal was reported by MIT scientists Kaitlyn Shin, Calvin Leung, Kiyoshi Masui and Juan Mena-Parra, along with their colleague Daniele Michilli, who said of the signal, “It was unusual. Not only was it very long, lasting about three seconds, but there were periodic peaks that were remarkably precise, emitting every fraction of a second — boom, boom, boom — like a heartbeat.”

READ MORE: 'Astounding': Astronomers photograph the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way

Michilli went on to say, “There are not many things in the universe that emit strictly periodic signals. Examples that we know of in our own galaxy are radio pulsars and magnetars, which rotate and produce a beamed emission similar to a lighthouse. And we think this new signal could be a magnetar or pulsar on steroids.”

According to Michilli, the detection “raises the question of what could cause this extreme signal that we’ve never seen before, and how can we use this signal to study the universe.”

Founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts (a Boston suburb) in 1861, MIT has been around 161 years and is one of the world’s leading scientific institutions.

READ MORE: Hubble Space Telescope captures dazzling galactic 'dance' for its mission's 32nd anniversary week

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