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Parkes telescope scientists discover strange 'space signals' actually came from kitchen microwave

ABC News logo ABC News 5/05/2015
Scientists at the CSIRO's radio telescope near Parkes were suprised to find that messages were coming from their kitchen, not the galaxy. © CSIRO/AAP Image Scientists at the CSIRO's radio telescope near Parkes were suprised to find that messages were coming from their kitchen, not the galaxy.

Scientists at the Parkes telescope in central west New South Wales have discovered that strange signals first believed to be from space were actually coming from the facility's kitchen microwave.

Scientists at the radio telescope facility detected radio signals described as "fast radio bursts" which they thought could be intergalactic messages.

PhD student Emily Petroff was one of those investigating.

"We were getting some strange signals that appeared to be coming from very nearby," she said.

Ms Petroff said the source of these strange signals had now been identified as coming from the facility's kitchen.

"We were actually able to trace them back to the microwave at the Parkes radio telescope site."

She said the signals were sent when someone opened the microwave door before the heating process was finished.

"It turns out that you can generate these particular local signals by opening the door of the microwave to stop the microwave, and that produces these weird bursts that we're seeing at Parkes," she said.

"It was kind of a surprise to all of us."

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