Radio signals bouncing around space is not a new phenomenon, and these bursts repeating has been noted before too. But for the first time, researchers have noticed a pattern coming from a series of bursts.
According to CNN, these radio bursts are from a source half a million light-years away. They are only a millisecond long and have been repeating every 16.35 days.
Researchers at the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment/Fast Radio Burst Project collaboration detected this pattern between September 16, 2018 and October 30, 2019.
Over the course of four days, the signal would release a burst or two each hour. Then, it would go silent for another 12 days.
This specific fast radio burst, FRB 180916.J0158+65’s source was detected last year to a massive spiral galaxy.
“The discovery of a 16.35-day periodicity in a repeating FRB source is an important clue to the nature of this object,” the researchers wrote in their study.
They also noted that this pattern doesn’t fit explanations found for other single and repeating radio bursts they have observed in the past. They hope to trace the origin of these bursts with the help of possible future technologies, to identify exactly what is emitting them.