Astronomers found out that the signal they have struggled to locate for 17 years was their microwave
23 - 29 May, 2015
A group of scientists proved that common sense still needs to be applied regardless of how many PhDs you have. Astronomers at the Parkes radio telescope in Australia have been trying to find the source of a strange interference for the last 17 years, and they have finally figured it out. Was it aliens? Russian satellites? No, it was their microwave. The strange spikes only showed up once or twice a year, and at first the astronomers thought they were picking up lightning strikes. It wasn’t until a new piece of equipment was installed recently that they realised the signals were being emitted by the office microwave when someone opened the door before it had finished heating, releasing a small amount of radiation. The telescope only picked up these ‘perytons’ when it was pointing in the direction of the microwave, which is why they were so infrequent. An embarrassed Simon Johnston, head of astrophysics at the CSIRO, said that when signals like this are found by the telescope it is ‘hard to pin them down’.