Lonely Planet Writer

Source of mysterious radio space signals found in scientists’ kitchen

Australian space researchers have finally discovered the source of mysterious radio signals hitting their telescope – thus ending a 17-year fruitless scanning of the galaxy for the answer.

Mysterious signals picked up by the Parkes telescope proved to be the scientists' kitchen microwave ovens
Mysterious signals picked up by the Parkes telescope proved to be the scientists’ own kitchen microwave ovens Image by Corrie Barklimore / CC BY 2.0

It turned out that they hadn’t to go where no man has gone before to get the result – it was the microwaves in their own kitchens.

The BBC reports that Emily Petroff, who is PhD student, made the discovery at the Parkes telescope, when it dawned on her that it was only during business hours that the signals were received.

It didn’t happen every time a member of staff used the microwaves – only when rays known as ‘perytons’ were emitted when people prematurely opened the doors of the devices.

While she made the discovery earlier this year, the disclosure was only unveiled after the publication of her paper on the subject of perytons at the Parkes radio telescope.

She told ABC News that by opening the door to stop the microwave, weird bursts of perytons can be generated which interfered at Parkes.

She said the simplicity of the results had surprised the scientists on the project.