Scientists hear a mystery roar coming from deep space

Discussion in 'Astronomy, Exobiology, & Cosmology' started by Dr Mabuse, Jan 9, 2009.

  1. Dr Mabuse Percipient Thaumaturgist Registered Senior Member

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    LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Space is typically thought of as a very quiet place. But one team of astronomers has found a strange cosmic noise that booms six times louder than expected.

    The roar is from the distant cosmos. Nobody knows what causes it.

    Of course, sound waves can't travel in a vacuum (which is what most of space is), or at least they can't very efficiently. But radio waves can.

    Radio waves are not sound waves, but they are still electromagnetic waves, situated on the low-frequency end of the light spectrum.

    Many objects in the universe, including stars and quasars, emit radio waves. Even our home galaxy, the Milky Way, emits a static hiss. Other galaxies also send out a background radio hiss.

    But the newly detected signal, described here today at the 213th meeting of the American Astronomical Society, is far louder than astronomers expected.

    There is "something new and interesting going on in the universe," said Alan Kogut of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

    A team led by Kogut detected the signal with a balloon-borne instrument named ARCADE.

    In July 2006, the instrument was launched from NASA's Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Palestine, Texas, and reached an altitude of about 120,000 feet, where the atmosphere thins into the vacuum of space.

    ARCADE's mission was to search the sky for faint signs of heat from the first generation of stars, but instead they heard a roar from the distant reaches of the universe.

    "The universe really threw us a curve," Kogut said. "Instead of the faint signal we hoped to find, here was this booming noise six times louder than anyone had predicted."

    Detailed analysis of the signal ruled out primordial stars or any known radio sources, including gas in the outermost halo of our own galaxy.

    Other radio galaxies also can't account for the noise – there just aren't enough of them.

    "You'd have to pack them into the universe like sardines," said study team member Dale Fixsen of the University of Maryland. "There wouldn't be any space left between one galaxy and the next."

    The signal is measured to be six times brighter than the combined emission of all known radio sources in the universe.

    For now, the origin of the signal remains a mystery.

    "We really don't know what it is,"said team member Michael Seiffert of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.
     
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  3. gluon Banned Banned

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    I think that's a bit freaky.
     
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  5. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    Perhaps it was a ultra nova explosion somewhere deep in space. That occurs when a large black hole explodes as you know and since one has not been recorded by "sound" as yet , this might be the remnants of it.
     
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  7. gluon Banned Banned

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    I still get the impression it's many more times the magnitude than a simple black hole spurt of energy.
     
  8. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    An article in our local newspaper (Philadelphia Inquirer) seemed to describe the signals as analogous to the CMB radiation, coming from every direction.

    I did not read the article carefully, and news reporters do not always interpret science-speak properly.

    I am waiting for an article in the NY Times Science section next tuesday. The articles there tend to be very reliable.

    Hopefully SciAm will have an article in the next month or so.
     
  9. gluon Banned Banned

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    Well, from what i understand of it, this signal is six times greater than all of the signals being produced in the universe in whole, and it seems to be homogeneous, since scientists find this as a blue print of something happening when the universe was about half the age it is now.

    What stranges me about it all, is that the predicted ''subtle noise'' is due to the model we currently have for the creation of stars which must heavily depend on whether big bang is correct or not. Instead, they found a booming noise which was six times greater than all the radio emissions of the universe put together. This might be a stab of the knife into the big bang side, hopeful a fatal one.
     
  10. John Connellan Valued Senior Member

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    I would imagine it would result in a modification of the big bang theory rather than killing it off altogether! Maybe it's just an age of the universe thing. The fact that it's homogenous still lends credibility to a big bang type origin
     
  11. gluon Banned Banned

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    I just don't like big bang, so i am very bias

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  12. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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  13. John Connellan Valued Senior Member

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    Why not

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    :bugeye:

    What would your favored theory be (even if you still think BB is more credible)?
     
  14. gluon Banned Banned

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    I made a theory a while back. I didn't like the idea everything could come from nothing, so i preferred the notion matter and energy was in a continuous share with a finite number of universes. Other than the notion that energy and matter cannot just come from nowhere, i like big bang.
     
  15. John Connellan Valued Senior Member

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    You must hate quantum theory then

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  16. gluon Banned Banned

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    No i love it really. I just don't like something coming from nowhere. It's redundant and lazy.
     
  17. John Connellan Valued Senior Member

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    Well there's a bit of that in quantum theory (I'm thinking quantum vacuum fluctuation)

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  18. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    black holes explode? I thought they just ate themselves up and vanished. Isn't that a Hawking idea?
     
  19. gluon Banned Banned

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    Orleander

    Black Holes can spurt out a lot of energy from both its ends. These are called Jet Streams.
     
  20. gluon Banned Banned

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    Well, i have no problem beleiving some particle do arise from the vacuum, but they don't come from nowhere as such, because usually we refer to the zero-point energy field (a negative resevior of energy that is virtual) is the source of such fluctuations. But if we trace big bang back to the point it began, we can say it arose from some potential sea of energy because there was no such sea to begin with. So where did the vacuum come from, where did the singularity spawn from?
     
  21. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    so? are you saying its the jet streams are making the noise? Or is shoots out jet streams when it is exploding?
     
  22. gluon Banned Banned

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    However, i also pointed out that it doesn't seem that jet streams would suffice the amount of noise we are hearing. If you took all emissions in the universe and multiply it by six, you then have a tremendous sound which no black hole singularily could make.
     
  23. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    Black holes do explode please do a google search on them.
     

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