In 1998, astronomers at the Parkes Observatory in New South Wales, Australia, noticed their iconic radio telescope was picking up an odd signal. These signals, known as perytons, continued to be detected once or twice a year, and were described by scientists as “millisecond-duration transients of terrestrial origin.” For 17 years, the best explanation for the signals that astronomers could come up with was that the “reasonably local” interference was in some way connected to lightning strikes. That is, until the astronomers of Parkes Observatory installed a new receiver that was better able to monitor the interference—and with this, they found that the signals were coming in at 2.4 GHz. By no small coincidence, 2.4 GHz is the signature of a microwave. As the astronomers explained in a recent paper “We have identified strong out-of-band emission at 2.3-2.5 GHz associated with several peryton events. Subsequent tests revealed that a peryton can be generated at 1.4 GHz when a microwave oven door is opened prematurely and the telescope is at an appropriate relative angle.” That is, when the telescope is aimed at the kitchen, and someone really wants their cup noodles. Which, at Parkes Observatory, is a phenomenon that occurs once or twice a year.

Via The Guardian

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