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One More Bubble Burst…
In Defense of the Faith
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Wendy Wippel

Ever wonder why our physicists seem so anxious to find evidence of other life? Always searching the cosmos for other earth-like hospitable planets?  Ostensibly it’s because, with global  warming, we’re all looking at needing to make a move sometime soon. Really it’s because one planet with intelligent life smacks of an omnipotent Creator.  A bunch, in their view, shows it’s just mother nature.

And now they have a new source of hope. Fast Radio Bursts.

A group of astronomers, on what was an apparently really slow day at the telescopes in 2007, decided to look through their old data. And soon realized that their instruments had captured, years before, a very strong, but very brief spate of radio emissions that originated from an unknown source in deep space.

An event that had never been documented before.  

Other labs looked through old films and also found evidence of similar emissions,  these mysterious emissions now earning their own category of phenomenon: Fast Radio Bursts.

FRBs for short.  Fast, because these blips are very short—less than 5 thousandths of a second in duration. Bursts because they seemed to occur in small frenzies separated by long periods of time.

In 2015, the Parkes Observatory in Australia recorded a burst in real time.

The same year that (Coincidentally ?) a joint venture by Stephen Hawking and investor, Yuri Milner, put a high power telescope in West Virginia and started monitoring the skies for fast radio bursts, in an initiative known as Breakthrough Listen. Designed and constructed to confirm the presence in the universe of other intelligent life, its goal—to purposely monitor space looking for similar FRB signals signals—was based on a 2012 observation at the Very Large Array in New Mexico, which, defying the notion that the bursts were typically far apart in time,  had recorded a series of nine bursts in fairly short succession.

Which allowed the scientists involved to pinpoint where in space the bursts orginated.  It turned out to be a galaxy three billion light-years from Earth.

The scientists involved named that signal FRB2012.  And it is the only FRB that has been observed more than once.

As  you may imagine, the  observation of that repeating signal in 2012 gave Hawking and Milner high hopes for their investment:   

As well as confirming that the source is in a newly active state, the new observations … using the Breakthrough Listen instrument on the telescope – will allow very precise measurements of the properties of the mysterious bursts from FRB 121102. …  The extraordinary capabilities of the Listen backend (a really expensive and powerful piece of recording technology), which is able to record several gigahertz of bandwidth at a time, split into billions of individual channels, will enable a new view of the frequency spectrum of FRBs, and should shed additional light on the processes giving rise to FRB emission”.  

I would hope so.

They also pointed out that when the recently detected pulses left their host galaxy our own solar system was just 2 billion years old. Life on Earth consisted of only single-celled organisms, and it would be another billion years before even the simplest multi-cellular life began to evolve.

(An Alien civilization that has been trying to contact earth denizens since we were germs and worms?) Hawking, at least, had to have wet in his wheaties for joy.

And August (yep , 2017) had to have put him over the moon.

In August, “Breakthrough Listen”--, Hawking’ and Milner’s global push to find signs of intelligent life in the universe, detected 15 more powerful radio pulses from FRB 121102, bringing the total from that source to more than 150. At which point all involved were bombarded by all like-minded journalists, as one voice, with one question: Was this evidence of alien life?

Their answer? It can’t be ruled out. Geeks one, God zero?

Not so fast.

First, each FRB was only around for the tiniest fraction of a second. If an uber- advanced civilization intentionally sent that communication; and sent it when we were supposedly worms, you would think that they would know that we wouldn’t really be able to read signals that degraded that speedily.  At least for a long, long time.  

Second, the FRBs being detected are more than a thousand times larger that our largest capacity to transmit.  Again, who the heck is there actual intended audience (if the signals are in fact produced by a more advanced civilization).

Third, even though the signals are coming in sets, there is no regularity to the actual pulses. The amount of energy contained, the signal strength, and the amount of time between pulses varies considerably.

Fourth, it is known that FRBs are, in fact, produced by other cosmic entities, including black holes, active galactic nuclei, and magnetars (neutron stars with extremely powerful magnetic fields.)  

Fifth,  (now that we know what we are looking for), fast radio bursts are extremely common. Scientists have confirmed tens of thousands of distinguishable bursts, in all areas of the cosmos.

And Last (but not least) we also know now that the dwarf galaxy that is the source of the repeating signals is home to a supermassive black hole, a predictable source of FRBs in general.

Verdict?  These transmissions may  not be intelligent life at all. Ethan Seigel, owner of the website Starts with a Bang, had this to say. I'm not saying that it wasn’t aliens, but… it wasn’t aliens. Meaning there are lots of more likely scenarios to choose from.

I don’t really get why it makes some people feel better to think that they are the result of random processes, rather than a custom made creation who is loved by that Creator. But it ain’t going anywhere soon. Time Magazine, in their annual year in review issue, named a group of scientists known as “Planet hunters” as the most influential people of 2017.

American, Natlhlie Batalha (NASA), Michael Gillon, from the Universe of Liege in Belgium, and Guillem Anglada-Escude, from Queen Mary University in London.  

Batalha, as a central figure in NASA’s Kepeler project, has identified 2500 new planets.

Gillon has discovered seven earth-sized planets around a dwarf star in the neighborhood, all with a chance of having water.

Escude discovered Proxima- a planet roughly earth -sized and only four light years away- that is also positioned to allow for surface water.  

Definte scientific achievements, I’ll grant, but most Most Influential?

I have a hard time with that. Although they do remined me of a verse. Romans 1:25, which talks about men that “exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature and creation rather than the Creator.”

And will seemingly twist the evidence in all directions to avoid having a creator in the equation.

The fool, as always, says in his heart “there is no God”. Even when He is staring right back him.



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