Harry’s Ramblings. Is There Anybody There?
by Harry Pope
Recently there has been some publicity about strange radio wave signals arriving on earth that originate from………who knows where. For the last couple of hundred years man has been wondering if there is anyone out there trying to communicate with us, so are these signals confirmation? These are called Fast Radio Bursts, come from somewhere in space, and are milliseconds long. They are one-offs, far faster than humans can register, it’s only machines that can detect.
When I say one-offs, I mean that they are not repeated…until FRB 180916.JO158+65 was received, what makes it different is it has been received on a 16 day cycle. When the signals are transmitted, they emanate from an extremely high magnetic field, far more intense than humans could possibly experience, however, these messages come from somewhere, and that somewhere has to have a source. These fast radio bursts were only discovered in 2007, from too far away for me to be able to explain here, but in April 2020 the first burst was received from inside the Milky Way. Before you get too excited (contain yourself here), this was over 3,700 light years away. Yes, I know that we have all read the expression ‘light years’, which I have always taken to mean far further than my little brain can comprehend, so 3,700 of them is even more problematic for me to appreciate.
Over the past 13 years various scientists and astronomers have been thinking about these bursts of signals, asking is there a message trying to be sent to us that we have no idea of the language, intelligence, or hostile intent of the sender. There have been so many that there is a register of numbers, but the sheer randomness of the signals hasn’t really generated that much public interest until the recent consistency. We know that in our galaxy that surrounds the sun there can’t possibly be any life that is anywhere near to having the same degree of form, but what has fascinated sci-fi writers and readers alike is if there is something out there that could possibly add to our earthly existence.
The January 2020 burst detected now arrives every 16.35 days, just for a microsecond, but what is it saying? Help, we are being attacked, send starships, with the first one, the second it’s too late, and subsequent ones we are now in charge so don’t bother coming. It’s very easy to say that I am wrong, but my explanation is just as feasible as any other.
Technically, scientists learn more every year, so they now know that these bursts come from magnetars, which is a magnetised neutron star. The latest signals came from a light source that was even stronger than the sun, so it was easier to detect. The Canadian telescope that recently made the startling discovery is in British Columbia, and these scientists first pinpointed the signal direction source, then asked other experts to look out as well. California discovered more with their advanced sophisticated equipment. Now the scientific world have the source, the next step is to concentrate on what comes next.
It would certainly seem that these bursts of waves are involuntary, as opposed to being created by any form of life, so as our galaxy was created over 6 billion years ago around the sun by space without any assistance, what is occurring has no explanation. Yet. The vast majority of humanity cannot possibly comprehend what these scientists are attempting to achieve, and those that do understand are such forms of intelligent life that they would have no idea how to communicate with alien life forms in any case.
Intelligent man knows that for all but the last 200 years we were in blissful ignorance or desire to do anything more than exist, then nations became more aware of each other, ambition and greed increased, so what we have now is something we should not be particularly proud of, so why would any alien form want to come here in any case. What would we have to offer them? If they are sufficiently clever enough to find their way to the only planet in our system with the ability to support its own life, then they should know that that life doesn’t have a lot to offer in the first place.
But until they get here, we will just have to make the best of what we have. I can only hope that I won’t be here to greet them.
Harry Pope owned an Eastbourne hotel in disastrous partnership with a Californian businessman with financial feet of clay. This story is now a book called Hotel Secrets, available on Amazon at £3.99 e-version, or £5.99 printed. Yes, it all ends in tears, after a great story along the way.