TECH

Alien Radio Signal Mystery Has Finally Been Solved, Say Scientists

29/04/2016 12:03
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In 2009 a powerful and mysterious radio signal was detected from a distant exoplanet. Was it alien life? Or something far more mysterious? 

Well it seems the mystery has been solved because scientists as the University of St Andrews' have revealed that the cause was a lightning storm, but one unlike anything we've ever seen.

The exoplanet in question, HAT-P-11b, is believed to be a distant ice world around 122 light-years away and 26 times larger than Earth.

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Using some fairly complex mathematical equations the team were able to see correlations between the signals they were receiving and the theory that this was in fact a case of extreme weather.

Except extreme weather just doesn't do this justice.

The lightning storm would have been titanic in scale, over 500 times larger than anything seen on Earth and larger even than the extreme weather we've seen on Saturn.

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The team concluded that the storm will have covered half the planet with over 50 strikes per kilometre.

If correct this will have been one of the first examples of lightning being observed on a planet outside of our own solar system.

This is just one of several radio signals that have been baffling scientists.

Called Fast Radio Bursts these huge blips that arrive at Earth can be caused by a range of events from stars exploding to black holes forming.

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While these help us better understand the known events in the universe FRB's also can be completely mysterious in nature - appearing in one second and then disappearing never to be heard again.

One such FRB is continuing to puzzle scientists and was first detected by the Parkes radio telescope in Australia.

While astronomers are still mystified by it, they are now developing better techniques at capturing these random events.

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