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Outback Telescope Eavesdrops on Interstellar Visitor

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A telescope in outback Western Australia has listened to a mysterious cigar-shaped object that entered our Solar System in October 2017.

When ‘Oumuamua was first discovered, astronomers thought it was a comet or an asteroid from within the Solar System. But after studying its orbit and discovering its long, cylindrical shape, they realised ‘Oumuamua was neither and had come from interstellar space.

There was even speculation ‘Oumuamua could be an alien spacecraft, so astronomers went back through observations from the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) telescope to check for radio transmissions coming from the object between the frequencies of 72 and 102 MHz – similar to the frequency range in which FM radio is broadcast. While they did not find any signs of intelligent life, Prof Steven Tingay of the Curtin University node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research said: “Whilst the possibility of this is extremely low, possibly even zero, as scientists it’s important that we avoid complacency and examine observations and evidence without bias”.

Tingay said the research team was able to look back through all of the MWA’s observations from November, December and early January, when ‘Oumuamua was between 95 million and 590 million km from Earth. “We found nothing, but as the first object of its class to be discovered, ‘Oumuamua has given us...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.