Monday, April 6

Galaxies Spell Out Cosmic Warning/Apology!

From NewScientist:
Trolling through a physics preprint server today, a colleague of mine spotted several highly intriguing papers.

One (pdf), from a project called Galaxy Zoo that invites volunteers to analyse and categorise galaxies in images from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, reports on a strange new class of galaxy cluster (see images).

The team writes: "Upon detailed inspection, the morphologies of individual galaxies and close systems approximate the familiar geometric shapes of letters of the basic modern Latin alphabet. . . . the existence of these messages might indicate intelligent life beyond our own."

From the observed phrases ("Caution! Structure formation in progress", "Delays possible for 7 Gyr" and "We apologise for the inconvenience"), it's clear that these are cosmic road signs, and that the creator of the signs speaks the Queen's English (this I deduce both from the "s" in apologise and from the general politeness of the message).

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