by Bill Bain January 20, 2018 (heraldscotland.com)
• By now, the earliest of the Earth’s radio and television broadcast signals emanating into space would have reached a few hundred nearby stars. Conversely, we here on Earth have been receiving very similar radio broadcasts from deep space for decades, but have been unable to interpret or explain these interstellar radio signals.
• In August 2017, radio astronomers picked up the first-ever “fast radio burst” that actually repeated itself. The insistence of the signal, named FRB 121102, made it possible for the world’s most powerful telescopes to discover where it originated, which turned out to be a galaxy three billion light years from Earth.
• This perplexing broadcast very recently went into overdrive with unimaginable amounts of focused energy. A single millisecond-long blast radiates the same energy as our sun radiates in one day. “If this was even on the distant side of our own galaxy, it would completely disrupt radio on Earth and saturate signals on smartphones,” said a senior astronomy research associate at Cornell University.
• This FRB 121102 signal would now be three billion years old. Any civilization capable of transmitting it would likely be long gone, having either destroyed itself, replaced by machines, or incinerated by their dying sun.
• [Editor’s Note] On the other hand, a civilization that is three billion years old would likely have ascended to a universal state of higher consciousness and have no further need of radio and television broadcasts. They should have cable by now.
A CACOPHONY of radio and television signals transmitted over the past 100 years have effectively turned Earth into an astral megaphone, violating the tranquility of infinity with incessant pulses of sound and vision. Our naked exhibitionism is certainly worthy of an interstellar Asbo, with each and every broadcast escaping into space to pollute the entire galaxy.
Theoretically, any reasonably advanced alien civilisation could easily tune into this cosmic UK Gold for a comprehensive insight into Earth’s last century. It’s estimated that our oldest transmissions – the first radio broadcasts – have already reached a few hundred “nearby” stars. Prepare for imminent attack when Piers Morgan’s voice finally reaches Alpha Centauri.
Astrophysicist Carl Sagan once wryly theorised that the first television broadcast with a signal powerful enough to reach extraterrestrials would have been Hitler’s Nuremberg rallies. If this had somehow failed to profoundly depress our cosmic neighbours, perhaps watching the actual Neighbours – and remember the same episode was often repeated twice a day – may have given them no other option than to declare war. Or at least relegate us to the lowest rung on the ladder of universal consciousness.
Yet transmissions work both ways. It’s no secret that even this primitive outpost has been picking up radio broadcasts from deep space for decades. Interpreting and explaining them is another matter, with scientists taking decades to figure out that the vast majority of interstellar radio signals naturally emanate from neutron stars called pulsars. Yet major anomalies persist – the most famous example being a mysterious transmission picked up by astronomers last year.
In August, the discovery of FRB 121102 was excitedly announced – the first-ever “fast radio burst” that actually repeated itself. This was an unprecedented and deeply unusual phenomenon. The insistency of the signal made it possible for the world’s most powerful telescopes to discover where it originated, which turned out to be a galaxy far, far away – three billion light years from Earth. All that existed on Earth when these signals were first sent was Kirk Douglas.
Furthering the mystery, this perplexing broadcast very recently went into overdrive, with unimaginable amounts of focused energy being manically hurled through space and time – like Thor’s hammer being attacked by a woodpecker. The only solid fact scientists can deduce is that it is fortunate we’re so far away – a single millisecond-long blast radiates the same energy as our sun does in a day. “If this was even on the distant side of our own galaxy, it would completely disrupt radio on Earth and saturate signals on smartphones,” said Shami Chatterjee, senior research associate in astronomy at Cornell University. “Whatever is happening is scary. We would not want to be there.”
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