Sunday, April 18, 2010

Deep Space Communication

UK astronomers have found an object in deep space sending out radio waves while moving at, it appears, superluminal speeds.

“The new object, which appeared in May 2009, has left us scratching our heads - we’ve never seen anything quite like this before,” said Dr Muxlow. “The object turned on very rapidly within a few days and shows no sign of decaying in brightness over the first few months of its existence. The new young supernova explosions that we were expecting to see in M82 brighten at radio wavelengths over several weeks and then decay over several months, so that explanation seems unlikely.”

The object is not quite in the middle of M82, where astronomers would expect to find the kind of supermassive central black hole that most other galaxies, including the Milky Way, have. Which leaves the possibility that it could be a smaller-scale "microquasar".

We won't know for sure what it is for years to come. But if we start getting reruns of an alien version of I Love Lucy I will be endlessly amused.

4 comments:

  1. Ha! That makes two of us.

    I find this fascinating. It seems from the tone there's no speculation that this object is of intelligent design, but regardless, it's amazing the odd things we find "out there." What we know about the universe is infinitesimal compared to what we don't know. (Lots of room for speculation and imagination for writers.)

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  2. LOL - or worse yet, an alien version of Baywatch.

    Still, fascinating stuff - and I share the scientists' excitement. We're able to pick up so much more out there these days, and see so much farther. Oh, the things we might yet see...

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  3. Sandra- You just made my brain melt. I want to assume that any species we encounter in space will be smarter than us.

    *envisions a whole planet of Pamela Anderson and the Hoff*

    *twitch*

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  4. Love it! And who knows? Ten years ago, reputable scientists said there were no other planets. Today, no one is willing to stick his neck out to say this might be artificially generated. By the time we've seen this hundreds of times, maybe someone will come out and say the "A" word. May I live so long.

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