Extraterrestrial signals: Russia joins the study of the main mysteries of the cosmos

© Photo : Danielle Futselaar, ASTRONТак the artist has imagined a galactic civilization Kardashev type III building a Dyson sphereExtraterrestrial signals: Russia joins the study of the main mysteries of the cosmos© Photo : Danielle Futselaar, ASTRON

Sergey Trushkin, an astronomer at the Special astrophysical Observatory of the RAS, spoke about why scientists are interested in the mysterious fast radiosystemy, the so-called radio signals of the aliens, and explained how Russian telescope RATAN-600 had a unique chance to reveal their essence.

«Given our modest capabilities, we expect that we manage to fix in the best case three to five such outbursts in a year of observations. On the other hand, even if we can find at least one event at the frequencies where we are searching, it will change radically the understanding of the nature of these signals,» said Trushkin, speaking at the annual conference «high energy Astrophysics» in the walls of the IKI in Moscow.

The call of the cosmos

For the first time about the existence of a mysterious flares of radio emission (fast radio burst FRB), open accidentally during observations of radio pulsars using the Parkes telescope (Australia), astronomers began in 2007.

«Why don’t we find these phenomena 50 years ago, when the first radio telescopes? The problem was that our predecessors were not so high-quality radio that exists today. They were discovered with the help of parks upgrade of its detectors, which allowed the pioneers to understand that these interference signals are not born on Earth, and flashes from distant galaxies» — said the scientist.

In subsequent years, failed to find traces of another nine such bursts. The comparison showed that they can have an artificial origin, and even potentially be signals of extraterrestrial civilizations due to the unexplained periodicity in the structure.

Last spring it became clear that the source of one of such FRB-flares were an elliptical galaxy, located six billion light years from the milky Way, and this led the scientists to conclude that such outbursts are born during the merging of neutron stars or other compact objects, turning into a black hole.

This theory suffered a crushing defeat in March 2016. Using the same parks, canadian researchers found that one of the first found flares — burst FRB 121102 is re-originated at the same point in the constellation Auriga, where it was found six years ago.

«Now the number of theories that explain such outbursts, much higher than the number of those phenomena known to science. We are the observers and the experimenters are more interested in opening events and receiving new data, which our colleagues-theorists can use to create their theories,» continues Trushkin.

Two key features of «radio alien», as the scientist, is their high brightness and extremely low duration — allow you to bypass the main drawback of the RATAN-600 — the failure of any continuous monitor one point on the sky.

During observations of FRB Russian telescope will scan the entire night sky, watching his every segment for a very short time. This will allow, despite the modest angle of view RATAN, cover a large enough area of the sky, which is only four times less than the similar indicator for the telescope parks.

«We have long thought, what frequency to choose for these observations, and highlighted the importance 4.7 GHz. All other bursts were detected at frequencies of 1.4 GHz or less, but these observations need a fairly expensive installation for which we simply have no money. High frequency, in turn, reduce the number of channels necessary for the conduction of observations, and allow us to go in the area on which the FRB had never seen,» continues Trushkin.

The last car space train

According to him, these observations are in fact «hobby» for employees of the Observatory — will lead to the Western sector of ring of RATAN-600, previously mothballed, and with the help of four backup detectors, sets of filters and other radio equipment, which was purchased in the pre-crisis years and were not used.

«We were in preliminary talks with the Fund Yuri Milner supporting such initiatives, however, nothing substantial, they have not ended. On the other hand, we need a little money, about 30 thousand dollars to double the number of detectors and significantly increase the probability of detection of new outbreaks» — said the scientist.

As noted by the astronomer Russian scientists will focus their efforts on observations of the portion of the sky where the FRB 121102. Recurrent outbreaks as hope Trushkin and his associates, will increase the chances of RATAN-600 to the detection of at least one such phenomena and will allow us to study it at wavelengths that are inaccessible to other telescopes.

Work updated the RATAN-600 scientists have checked on two sites — one of the brightest pulsars located in our Galaxy, as well as trying to detect FRB 121102. According to Trushkina, in August this year his team «caught» the signal coming from the same point, that this re-surge.

CC BY-SA 3.0 / Pticy uleteli / radio Telescope RATAN-600 in Special astrophysical Observatory RAS,Extraterrestrial signals: Russia joins the study of the main mysteries of the cosmosCC BY-SA 3.0 / Pticy uleteli / radio Telescope RATAN-600 in Special astrophysical Observatory of RAS

While there is no assurance that managed to fix FRB-flash, since that time the telescope was not yet fully configured. Therefore, astronomers were unable to determine the distance to the «alien signal» and calculate its exact coordinates.

On the other hand, the other two radio Observatory — telescopes in the United States GBT and WSRT in the Netherlands — re-fixed burst FRB 121102 around the same time, which confirms the hypothesis of Russian scientists.

«These observations of colleagues and our preliminary data suggests that FRB 121102 is not simply a variable and recurring source. He can emit such a pulse kind of queues. In other words, it is able to produce several outbreaks in a single month, and then «silence» for a week, a month or conditional a thousand days,» says Trushkin. Extraterrestrial signals: Russia joins the study of the main mysteries of the cosmos© Photo : Danielle Futselaar, ASTRON»Radio alien» may occur every second, say scientists

According to him, today the main problem for the RATAN-600 is time. While such observations can only lead to Russian telescope, however, those same frequencies will be available for megatelecom SKA, the construction of which will begin in South Africa next year.

«SKA and the canadian project CHIME is expected the participants will find dozens of similar outbreaks every day. While they have not yet put into operation, we have the opportunity to make a unique contribution to the study of FRB-outbreaks due to the high frequencies at which we work, and somehow compete on the international level,» concludes astronomer.