Category: Science&Technology


By Bradly Shankar

Jan 30, 2017

1:18 PM EST

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Smaller than a grain of rice, creature lived 540 million years ago

By Nicole Mortillaro,CBC News Posted: Jan 30, 2017 11:00 AM ETLast Updated: Jan 30, 2017 11:00 AM ET

This artist's reconstruction of Saccorhytus coronarius, based on the original fossil finds, depicts the ancient creature that lived 540 million years ago. Researchers believe this tiny new species could be related to humans.

This artist’s reconstruction of Saccorhytus coronarius, based on the original fossil finds, depicts the ancient creature that lived 540 million years ago. Researchers believe this tiny new species could be related to humans. (S. Conway Morris/Jian Han)

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Dennis Overbye, 17 January 2017, The New York Times

long way out Radio waves arrive on Earth dispersed or spread out in time by wavelength. Representative image
Astronomers have traced a series of brief, enigmatic bursts of radio waves to a galaxy far, far away and indeed a long time ago — some three billion years or so. But as much as you might be hoping or dreading it to be true, this is probably not E.T.

“We’ve joked about spaceship battles and death stars blowing up, but we think we can explain it with ordinary physics,” said Shami Chatterjee, a Cornell University astronomer. Shami is the lead author of a paper published in Nature this month that details the search for the source of the radio waves known as “fast radio bursts,” — intense pulses of radiation from the sky lasting only a few milliseconds.

These have been disappointing times for those yearning for some alien direction from Out There. Last summer, Russian astronomers reported that they had recorded a promising-sounding signal from a star in the Hercules constellation, but they dismissed it when it became public as a freak bit of random radio noise, the astrophysical equivalent of a cosmic butt dial. More recently, searches for radio signals from a set of stars with anomalous spectral features and another star known as Tabby’s Star that has shown suspicious variations in its light seem to have come up empty.
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