A radio signal coming from deep space has been tracked by scientists and measured with a sideways trajectory to be moving faster than the speed of light. The strange object is located somewhere within the nearby M82 galaxy and was first picked up last May as astronomers at the Jodrell Bank Center for Astrophyics near Macclesfield, UK were tracking a nearby stellar explosion thought to be unrelated.
The object appears to be transmitting radio waves that do not follow the patterns of traditional radio waves associated with known astronomical phenomena. The galaxy M82 (also known as Messier 82) is approximately at RA 9h55m52.72s Dec 69'40'50.30" if one was to use an astronomical charting program or search "Messier 82."
The bright spot is baffling scientists, and many believe the signal indicates an object of artificial origin. Could this be the life we have been searching the skies for so long? Or could it possibly be an unknown natural phenomenon or even a hoax? If it indeed turns out to be a hoax, scientists have been unable to determine how it could have been perpetrated for the last two years that it has been observed.
The most unexplainable aspect of this isn't that we have observed an object transmitting radio waves. Of course any number of natural phenomena is capable of sending out radio signals. The problem is, no one is sure how it could be emitting radio waves in the steady signal it is, if it was a micro-quasar and not be emitting X-rays as well. A micro-quasar is an object that is created by an exploding star. The problem with the microquasar theory, is twofold. First, no known microquasar has ever sent out such a strong radio signal as what has been observed with the M82 anomaly. Second, the lack of X-rays is clearly indicative of something else. Of course what that is, exactly is entirely unknown to scientists.
One theory posits that it may be an extraterrestrial signal, the likes of which SETI has been scanning the skies looking for, for years. They propose that the only way the speed of light could be transcended would be to create an artificial spacecraft capable of moving faster than light speed. Then again, our understanding of this concept is only in its infant stages, and we don't even know if what we're observing is possible yet.
Another theory is that a black hole or an unknown object similar to a black hole is growing, gathering all the energy around it into itself. If such an object were in any number of the unexplored types of environments within space, it is possible it could be moving like a chain in a way that looks like it may be traveling, but in reality could simply be creating new radio sources simultaneously over a vast distance just as the previous one dies out. Whatever the source, we're sure to be hearing quite a bit from M82. And perhaps in time we'll notice a pattern (either from artificial or natural origin) that could help us decode its source and purpose.