back to article Something 4,000 light years away emitted strange radio bursts. This is where we talk to scientists for actual info

Astronomers have picked up something strange we've never seen before in space: bright bursts of low-frequency radio waves emitted three times an hour from a source within our Milky Way. "This object was appearing and disappearing over a few hours during our observations," said Natasha Hurley-Walker, a radio astronomer at the …

  1. Skiron
    1. Flightmode
  2. Michael H.F. Wilkinson
    Thumb Up

    Nop-notch boffinry!

    The universe never ceases to amaze

  3. Alumoi Silver badge


    Timing should be about right.

  4. Douchus McBagg

    i especially like the word "Magnetar" and i wish to use it more in conversation.

    also, sounds like some 70's prog rock band

    anyway top boff job everyone!

    1. Annihilator

      Or an instrument invented in the 80s, alongside the keytar.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      More like a Marvel Comics Universe alternative Magneto.

    3. Youngone Silver badge

      I'm pretty sure I saw Magnetar open for Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    I know what it is

    It's OnStar testing its new Intergalactic Guardian beacon.

    Soon, OnStar will be able to record you exceeded interstellar speed limits whereever you are in the galaxy.

    Version 2.0 will be able to record you between galaxies !

    Right, mine's the one with the beacon detector . . .

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I know what it is

      It's probably that gentleman you hear on 40 meters calling CQ with several kilowatts of power.

  6. Potemkine! Silver badge

    The regular pulses every 18 minutes suggest it is probably a single object rotating

    Nah, it's a periodic news broadcasting.

    1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

      "and listeners, here are the latest Intergalactic Breakfast News headlines ..."

      1. Ivan Headache

        It the source of “See it, Say it, Sorted”

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        “We'll be saying a big hello to all intelligent lifeforms everywhere - and to everyone else out there, the secret is to bang the rocks together, guys”

    2. Spherical Cow

      So, it's an alien Shipping Forecast?

      "Zaonce, Tionisla, Quitiri. Southwest gale 8 to storm 10, veering west, severe gale 9 to violent storm 11. Comets, then squally meteor showers. Poor, becoming moderate."

  7. Claverhouse Silver badge

    It's A Bat-Signal !

    Somewhere a dead little white dwarf star is in trouble, and we have to send our space-loving billionaires on a 4000 light-year adventure of a lifetime.

    1. Peter D

      Re: It's A Bat-Signal !

      I'm willing to pack Jeff and Richard's bags and drive them to their rockets.

      1. devin3782

        Re: It's A Bat-Signal !

        Please don't leave Elon behind.

        1. David Gosnell

          Re: It's A Bat-Signal !

          Elon would never make it beyond the Moon.

          1. Jaybus

            Re: It's A Bat-Signal !

            That's not fair. His rocket's second stage is only crashing into the Moon by chance. In another such launch the second stage may well miss the Moon and be drawn into lunar orbit, in which case it would periodically beyond the Moon. There's even a small chance that an out of control, tumbling second stage could be slingshot by the Moons gravity and exceed Earth's escape velocity.

      2. zuckzuckgo Silver badge

        Re: It's A Bat-Signal !

        Can we include a recent ex President? We may have to promise him exclusive rights to build a hotel there.

  8. Pen-y-gors


    Encoded commands to the lizard-people who are "governing" the UK?

    1. Mike 137 Silver badge

      Re: Lizards

      Are those the lizard people who keep having secret parties?

    2. Rob

      Re: Lizards

      Don't be so ridiculous, the lizard people would be far more comptent at running the country.

      At this point I would welcome any evil overlord to rule us, they seriously can't be any worse than the carbon based twats we currently have.

      1. Paul Uszak

        Re: Lizards

        Don' fret Rob. Just wait till 2024.

      2. Man inna barrel

        Re: Lizards

        > ... the lizard people would be far more competent at running the country.

        I think the intent might be ruining the country, not running it. They seem to be making progress. Can anybody take us seriously, when Parliament and the Met are pissing about with cakes and parties? We already know King Boris is a lying toad, now can we get on with important stuff, such as fuel poverty?

        1. ravenviz Silver badge

          Re: Lizards

          I thought the article was about strange radio bursts, not strange off topic outbursts!

    3. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Lizards and Alienating Interventions akin to Foreign AIgent Invasions

      Encoded commands to the lizard-people who are "governing" the UK? ..... Pen-y-gors

      MI5 and the MoD specifically, and MI6 and GCHQ incidentally, and anything else, anywhere else internationally and internetionally trying to effectively govern and influence everything else ..... and thus does that not include any Parliamentary political party types so adept at proving themselves to be unfit and incapable of governing and administering anything other than chaos and mayhem/FUD and SNAFU ....... are tested for their desire and therefore suitability to display an engaged and energising future facility in being able to mentor and monitor, deliver and maintain and retain and sustain leading success in novel global theatres of NEUKlearer HyperRadioProACTive IT Engagement ........ Remote Virtually Autonomous and Relatively Anonymous Command for Absolute Control with the likes of such messages as be transparently Registered and coded for all to see and pass comment on with the following being a prime exemplar of such a one elsewhere on this very thread ....... a Per Ardua ad Astra MetaDataBase Take for Holywood Palace Barracks type Makeovers on Red Virtual Terrain Team Army Manoueuvres ......

      And just like time and tide, such engagements wait for no man and tardy or retarded human team members.

      And the military and secret and security services are particularly and peculiarly targeted there/here/everywhere because it is they who are always traditionally tasked with clearing up after any and all disasters which others create and driver, and that dereliction of duty in preventing such actions from others in the first instance are no longer deemed acceptable and unavoidable ....... for new programs with almighty weapons and fantastic tools are now easily freely available to solve that perverse problem/eliminate that corrupt solution to that and/or those fully prepared and able or enabled and entitled to wield them.

      Things have changed more than just radically and fundamentally out there. Deny it and try to prevent its progress and one will suffer inordinately for one’s troubles ..... and be thoroughly worthily deserving of one's woes.

      1. trashsilo
        IT Angle

        Re: Lizards and Alienating Interventions akin to Foreign AIgent Invasions

        maybe an understatement ITS GONE !!!

        May have been interesting but clearly you cannot have

        all the fish going in the same direction, bizarre.

  9. Solviva

    I for one welcome our new 555-wielding galactic friends!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      18.18 minutes is a bit long and precise for a 555. Suspect it is a higher frequency device going through some sort of counter.

      1. NXM Silver badge

        Re: 555-wielding

        I'll just bung in a 12F508 then, just like I do with everything else

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 18.18 minutes is a bit long

        Maybe it's the watchdog counter kicking off a reboot every 18.18 minutes.

  10. Mike 137 Silver badge

    The universe is mind-bogglingly big

    The source of these bursts is (or at least was, 4000 years ago) approx. 2.35x10^16 miles away, and yet in universe terms it's in our back yard.

    1. The other JJ

      Re: The universe is mind-bogglingly big

      You may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space.

  11. The man who sold the moon

    Probably just the Vogons announcing the construction of an intergalactic highway for a hyperspace express route.

    1. You aint sin me, roit

      The astro equivalent of a blinking light on a motorway cone.

  12. Winkypop Silver badge

    And here’s the Intergalactic Traffic report

    A speed camera has been reported at GLEAM-X J 162759.5-523504.3.

    Those passing through the area are advised to observe the posted speed limits.

    1. eswan

      Re: And here’s the Intergalactic Traffic report

      299,792,458 m/s: Not just a good idea, it's the law.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's just Boris's shiny disco ball

    Drugs, Rock n Roll, Late Night Booty Calls etc..

  14. TRT Silver badge


    Every 18 minutes it rings for 30 to 60 seconds. When we eventually pick up the autodialler it'll be, "Hello, I'm calling from GalactiTech on behalf of The Register..."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cold-calling...

      Can I speak to you about the extended warranty?

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Cold-calling...

        More likely, I just wanted to let you know that we have prepared a white paper on the threat profile of extra-terrestrial intrusion and I wanted to confirm your email address so that we can send this valuable and interesting information to you...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Cold-calling...

        The standard warranty is 1 Terran year... Of course that warranty covers faults once they are confirmed by one of our engineers... Yes, on-site is included.

        The extended warranty? Yes, parts are covered... Does the extended warranty cover the cost of the call-out charge? You mean like the engineer's travel time? I'll have to ask my supervisor about that, hang on...

  15. This post has been deleted by its author

  16. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    If you prefer a tor to a mountain out of a molehill and indulge The Onion Root* ......

    Hmmm? Alternatively, a Per Ardua ad Astra MetaDataBase Take for Holywood Palace Barracks type Makeovers on Red Virtual Terrain Team Army Manoueuvres ......

    amanfromMars [2201270638] ... reveals on

    Maybe with the US economy on the cusp of a recession, if the Federal Reserve embarks on an aggressive rate hike cycle, an alien invasion and or even war with Russia are some of the excuses to unleash another wave of fiscal stimulus.

    Maybe .... but which of those two cited options is the more creative and most likely to succeed in energising and uniting humanity?  What if proposing the latter and going into uncertain explosive battle against alien invasion and starting foreign frenemy wars triggers a colossal series of Otherworldly China Syndrome type events firmly in the Overall Command and Absolute Control of A.N.Others Anonymous and Autonomous .... Serving and Servering for yet another Enigmatic Almighty Remote Virtually Unknown out there in the vastness of the Unknown Space?

    Would that be wise and advisable or incredibly stupid and the grand final finishing folly that guarantees solutions and provisions for the elimination and eradication of all such crazily dangerous and perversely possessed of evil intent fools/daemonic tools?

    Do you think such a right choice is yours to make and take or do you accept it is already long ago made and been chosen and taken for you?

    Would you see that as a problem to confront with the possibility of introducing conflict or much more of a heavenly opportunity to embrace and engage with to explore new possibilities never before known possible and readily available?

    AI as an Alien Intervention is surely more palatable and much easier to accept rather than being spun as some sort of strange spooky Alien Invasion.

    * ...... :-) .... Poe’s Law Rules:-)

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  17. You aint sin me, roit

    When your civilization reaches a certain stage...

    You build radar systems out of captured magnetars. Spin it up to generate the radio luminosity and then precess it to sweep out across the stars...

    Or it might just be radiation from a rotating death star's reactor exhaust vent.

  18. AndrueC Silver badge

    There's at least one S/F story in which this kind of signal starts up and eventually proves to mean 'Stand by for a data transmission'.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Or the more saddening one where it's decoded as "Hanging-up due to lack of response. Sector permanently marked uninhabited."

  19. aerogems Silver badge

    Please just be real

    Bonus points if it's aliens, but I just want it to be some kind of object beyond Earth orbit and not just a reflection of some terrestrial object.

  20. Eclectic Man Silver badge


    Potential early target for observation by the JWST, once it has aligned its mirrors.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Waste of time

    So much here on earth needs sorted.

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