We human beings diligently scan the night sky hoping to find something new, and every now and then keeping an open ear pays off. In 2007 astronomers detected a sudden blast of radio waves that lasted just a few milliseconds and dubbed it a Fast Radio Burst. Since then they’ve found about two dozen more, but one in particular has them intrigued.
The source is called FRB 121102, so called because it was first observed on November second, 2012. The reason FRB 121102 is special is because sometimes it repeats, the only fast radio burst we’ve found that does so.
Knowing that it pipes up from time to time, astronomers have paid close attention to FRB 121102’s patch of sky, and sure enough on August 26, 2017, they detected 15 MORE bursts, bringing the total number to over 150.
No one’s sure exactly what causes these fast radio bursts. It’s possible they’re generated by a young and fast spinning neutron star with an intense magnetic field. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s aliens?