I’ve been AWOL this week from the ole blog as I’ve been busy wrangling fourth graders. When I wasn’t doing that, I was home nursing what appears to be the beginning of another allergy attack/bout of sinusitis. As part of the self improvement program I’ve initiated, I resolved to not kill myself for my hobbies. So I haven’t done much writing to speak of this week. Then I remembered I had some entries done ahead of time for just such an occasion. Better late than never right? We should be back to our regularly scheduled programming next week, hopefully!
Looking up into the night sky is quite relaxing. Seeing the pinpoints of distant stars against the navy blue backdrop of the night sky is a source of solace for some and inspiration for others. Ever since humans began to walk upright, and maybe even before that, we have looked to the skies and wondered what lay in the boundless heavens.
Only in the last hundred years or so has our technology become powerful enough to let us peer into Nature’s innermost secrets. And the more we learn, the stranger things get. For example, here are a whole subset of bizarre, unexplained sounds out there. So far I’ve covered one of the most famous on the blog, the Bloop. But while the Bloop was massive, it is nothing more than a drop in the bucket compared to the Space Roar.
Back in 2009, a NASA team trying to find traces of heat from primordial stars on the far edges of the universe launched an Absolute Radiometer for Cosmology, Astrophysics, and Diffuse Emissions (ARCADE). They were looking for radio transmissions from the oldest stars in the universe. As for why they were looking for radio waves, that is because they are electromagnetic waves. Essentially, radio waves are light. As light travels, its wave length stretches out and its frequency becomes slower. So, what started as, say, infrared energy (heat) 13.7 billion years ago might have stretched out to become a 10cm radio wave by the time it reached Earth.
Now, as you might imagine the researchers were not expecting anything more than faint signals from so far away. Imagine there surprise when they turned in the radiometer and heard a hiss six times louder than anything they expected. No one knows the source–no known cosmic radio sources can come close to accounting for the Space Roar. The only thing that comes close are so-called radio galaxies, and even they are not nearly powerful enough. The roar drowns out any signals from the primordial stars the team was originally trying to study. As science collectively scratches its head and plunges into the data to try and figure out what this thing is, we can only speculate about what mysterious forces are sending their roar through the void of space.