blue and brown milky way galaxy

Where’s all that noise coming from in Outer Space?

Space. Its so full of mysteries, which always has something interesting going on, some we know and some we don’t.

So on to the exciting “know” part, scientists have discovered a mysterious roar coming out from outer space.

Ever since they discovered/invented cool toys, they started putting it to experiment their “science” theories. Among them, one was to “lookout” for anything that might give us more insight into understanding this universe more than we know now. One day, during one of these, cosmologists stumbled upon a roar, which they think might be from an early universe.

Image Credit: NASA

Sound doesn’t travel through space, because its vacuum. However, there are other forms of waves that are constantly emitted in space, we just need the right tool to understand it.

Back in 2006, scientists sent NASA’s equipment called ARCADE(Absolute Radiometer for Cosmology, Astrophysics, and Diffuse Emission) tied up in a balloon which had seven sensors to pick up electromagnetic radiation. The plan was to put this right above the Earth’s atmosphere, high enough so it wont interfere with the radiation from our home planet, and then tune it to detect other faint signals from early stars.

Image credit: NASA

As soon as it was up there, the instrument picked up a loud noise, six times louder than the scientists expected, which earned the name “space roar“.

How does it work?

The equipment, at first had to calibrate the measurements, the brightness of something in real physical terms. It took all of the “light” and compared it to a blackbody source. By doing this, ARCADE was able to see the combination of many dim sources and it took months of analysis to separate the galactic radiation from the signal.

When it was analysed and put together, the outcome was surreal. The signal from the early star was coming from all directions, which lead to believe that it wasn’t coming just from one object.

Out of that signal, there was also a frequency spectrum which had the same signature from our own Milky way galaxy. This signal was dubbed as “radio synchrotron background” and this signal coming from all direct is what caused that “space roar“.

So now the debate is, could this roar be from Milky way or its from everywhere. The jury is still out on that.

Some say it cannot be our galaxy due to the fact that the radio emission does not follow the same spacial distribution.

Jack Singal, an assistant professor from University of Richmond in Virginia quotes, “It would make it the most interesting photon background in the sky at the moment because the source population is completely unknown”.

I have to say, I agree. And that’s one of the many reasons I love this branch of science – the mysteries and the infinite possibilities.

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