Astronomers have intercepted a series of radio signals from a galaxy a billion light years away, according to research published in Nature magazine.
The 13 radio bursts were picked up by a telescope at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory in Canada. One of the signals repeated six times from the same location.
The signals – known as fast radio bursts (FRBs) – have been speculated to be coming from neutron stars merging or even aliens.
The bursts last for only a millisecond and are flung out with the same amount of energy that the sun produces in a year.
This is the second time an intercepted radio signal has ever repeated, which scientists believe could provide clues to uncover its origin.
“Knowing that there is another [FRB] suggests that there could be more out there. And with more repeaters and more sources available for study, we may be able to understand these cosmic puzzles – where they’re from and what causes them,” astrophysicist Ingrid Stairs told the Independent.
The only other known repeated radio burst was captured in 2012 and originated in a galaxy 2.5 billion light-years away from Earth, Nature reported.
A majority of the intercepted fast radio bursts shows signs of “scattering,” a phenomenon that reveals information about the environment where the radio waves originated from, Phys.org reported.
The telescope at the Canadian observatory that found the latest signals had previously detected the lowest frequency FRB known on record at wavelengths of 400 megahertz, according to Nature.