Aliens or Elon Musk? Twitter Tries to Decode Mysterious Radio Waves Coming from the Galaxy
Radio waves from within the galaxy cause a stir on social media | Image credit: AP/Twitter
The Discovery of a burst of cosmic radio waves within the Earth's solar system for the first time by astrophysicists has led to an incredible amount of excitement on social media.
In a research paper published on Wednesday, astrophysicists claim to have detected mysterious radio waves emanating from within the Milky Way galaxy.
Though the powerful fast radio bursts (FRBs) had been detected about a decade ago and have left scientists puzzled since, the source of the FRBs was always found to be outside the galaxy. But for the first time, on April 28 this year, multiple telescopes detected a bright FRB from the same area within our Milky Way.
Importantly, they were also able to pin down the source: Galactic magnetar SGR 1935+2154.
The new discovery has led to a lot of speculation on social media with many guessing (even hoping) for the radio waves to be alien communication coming Planet Earth's way.
Reacting to the news, many on social media felt that the coming of the "alien" radio waves was "so 2020", others felt that the timing could not have been worse.
One user even made a joke about how the radio waves were actually the sound of Elon Musk's Roadster in space.
Decepticons on their way. pic.twitter.com/ZlcyTfJi0D— Penny for the Pirate ☠️ (@jaegravley) November 5, 2020
And on those radio waves? The contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop.— Jay Black (@jayblackisfunny) November 5, 2020
Ahhhhh wait, wait.....BINGO I got apocalypse Bingo everyone pic.twitter.com/QCSJTUokgR— Caleb Anderson (@pebble107) November 5, 2020
Probably there's a starman waiting in the sky. He'd like to come and meet us. But he thinks he'd blow our minds pic.twitter.com/le2L9wGTbp— Caner Dereboyu (@bulsaralol) November 5, 2020
They’re really saving aliens for the final act of 2020??Bruh, who’s WRITING this?!— thanksgiving struggle plate hate account (@404SAGE) November 4, 2020
Meanwhile aliens are desperately trying to tell us something.....https://t.co/UgcyRiUjo0— Sanjeev Sanyal (@sanjeevsanyal) November 5, 2020
Yes, good, thank you. You’re right on time, alien overlords We’re ready.https://t.co/DVyv89eKEo— Yasmine Mohammed ❤️ ياسمين محمد (@YasMohammedxx) November 4, 2020
But some of the funniest reactions perhaps came from Americans, who have now been waiting for nearly two days to find out who their new President is since the November 3 US Elections.
Aliens: "Take us to your Leader"Everyone: "Can you wait till we've finished counting Pennsylvania"— Loft4Words (@Loft4W) November 4, 2020
Aliens are beaming in their mail in ballots.— Kathleen (@sockmother) November 5, 2020
Magnetars, young neutron stars that are the most magnetic objects in the universe, have long been prime suspects in the hunt for the source of these radio bursts.
But this discovery marks the first time that astronomers have been able to directly trace the signal back to a magnetar.
What are FRBs?
FRBs are intense flashes of radio emission that only last a few milliseconds -- have puzzled scientists since they were first detected a little over a decade ago.
They have been the topic of heated debate ever since, with even small steps towards identifying their origin stirring major excitement for astronomers.
One problem is that the momentary flashes are difficult to pinpoint without knowing where to look.
Theories of their origins have ranged from catastrophic events like supernovas to neutron stars, which are super-dense stellar fragments formed after the gravitational collapse of a star.