Want to hear an alien? If you like, skip to the end for the audio file. As an audio producer with an interest in space and true strange news, I had to try this. Many sites are posting right now about “FRB 180916.J0158+65,” a mysterious repeating “fast radio bust” discovered from a galaxy half a billion light years away. Most talk about how the signal is repeating, but they all ignore the actual signal in those bursts. What are they? What do they look like? Are they all noise? I finally found a full paper on it is here: https://arxiv.org/pdf/2001.10275v3.pdf
Looking at this image below, it looks like audio to me. Could it be translated? Could we hear an alien? Visually, it looks like someone saying “Hello” in a low voice, with a bunch of noise thrown in. Or “beep beep” or “stay away” or “ha ha” or “to all the good” … you never know, it wouldn’t be English, that would be too weird … unless time goes in loops and we are getting messages from ourselves.
When I look at the huge jumble of galaxies, some seem like the same ones seen at different times, as if space is looped and curved. I’m sure someone else thought of this and has done the analysis to determine that the particular galaxy broadcasting this signal could not possibly be a future (or past?) Milky Way which we are seeing through a time warp, right?
Anyway, I screen grabbed one of the images and converted it to audio.
There are endless ways to decode an image into audio, but for a first try, I trusted my intuition and simply took one of the spectrographs of one of the bursts and imported the raw file saved as a .png from a screenshot straight into Audacity a free open source multi-platform audio processing program.
What sample rate to use? Ah Ha!
Has no one else really thought to try this? The 16.35 day repeating pattern of the signal is perhaps a clue, so I decoded the FRB at a frequency of, you guessed it, 1635 Hz. It did sound interesting, but still pretty noisy. I then re-sampled to 44.1 kHz and used some filters to isolate what most sounded like a signal and I got something that really sounds amazing. It sounds like the cadence of a voice to me. Pretty eerie. I converted what I had to an MP3 which you can hear in the podcast below.
Could repeating ultra fast radio bursts be our “first contact” with one or more advanced ET civilizations? If not, the bursts are created by some natural process that we have not yet imagined. Either way, we know this: something in a spiral galaxy similar to ours but 500 million light years away is sending a repeating radio signal, a fast radio burst (FRB) that lasts a few thousandths of a second, in a pattern repeating steadily every 16.35 days. That 16.35 ± 0.18 day pattern is this: 1-2 bursts per hour over a four day period and then 12 days of silence. Then the pattern starts up again. It was first discovered in 2017 with a bright flare and has continued since, although it is now 600 times less bright.
Here we report the detection of a 16.35±0.18 day periodicity from a repeating FRB 180916.J0158+65 detected by the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment Fast Radio Burst Project (CHIME/FRB). In 28 bursts recorded from 16th September 2018 through 30th October 2019, we find that bursts arrive in a 4.0-day phase window, with some cycles showing no bursts, and some showing multiple bursts, within CHIME’s limited daily exposure. (Source)
Okay, the 16.35 number is in earth days, something aliens would most likely not know or care about and so the translation of this to audio at that frequency in cycles per human second should make no sense, but perhaps by coincidence, it just works.
FRB 180916.J0158+65, as the object is known, is a repeating FRB discovered by the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) observatory, a radio telescope near Okanagan Falls in British Columbia that Nimmo called “the world’s best FRB-finding machine.”
Follow-up observations by a network of telescopes in Europe allowed the research team to produce a high-resolution image of the FRB’s location. This location turned out to be a medium-sized spiral galaxy like our Milky Way that is surprisingly nearby, only 500 million light-years away, making it the closest-known FRB to date. The results were published yesterday (Jan. 6) in the journal Nature.
… most FRBs are one-off events, scientists initially thought they were probably produced by some cataclysmic cosmic event—potentially the collision of two neutron stars, or the collapse of a black hole, for example. However, in 2016 scientists discovered something that made FRBs even more perplexing—a signal that repeated. …
These brief bursts put out as much energy as our sun does in nearly a century. If we were going to hear an alien in these signals, they would be very advanced and powerful aliens. Researchers have only known about FRBs since 2007, but what might cause them is still unknown over a decade later. True Strange News likes to think there are advanced civilizations broadcasting messages from all over the universe. Or that these are created by future humans traveling back into the past and across vast distances to send up flags to reach the present with messages. They are working on a big plan to stop the expansion of the universe and save the present day earth. The plan requires all these timing beacons we see as FRBs.
Yeah, no way, but it’s an entertaining thought. Someone make it a movie. Interstellar II?
Keep in mind that there are natural sources of radio signals, so none of these may be aliens, but what could cause something with the pattern that is being received by FRB 180916.J0158+65 has remained a mystery. The meaning of this signal from a mysterious object in a milky-way like galaxy 500 million light-years away is unknown.
Hear an Alien? Here it is (also on the Podcasts page)
FRB 180916.J0158+65 Decoded As Audio. Skip to 4:14 for the alien sound.
If the embed does not work, here is a direct link to the MP3.
No commercial use without prior permission, but you are free to use this audio or part of it under the CC license at the bottom of this page. Just link back to truestrangenews.com or @truestrangenews on Twitter / Periscope / Instagram if you use it.
If you have expertise in signal processing or just good intuition, perhaps you can explain why I’m not doing it right and this “alien voice” is something else, just an artifact, rather than an alien voice.
Thanks for sharing this. If it gets around, someone else is sure to do a better job of it and I look forward to hearing something more clear than what I came up with.