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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

Radio waves from within the galaxy cause a stir on social media | Image credit: AP/Twitter

In a first, astrophysicists claim to have detected mysterious radio waves emanating from within the Milky Way galaxy.

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Buzz Staff

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.

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.

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.


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