It is a bit hard to find an accessible explanation online. I find the word "peryton" in some papers about radio astronomy, here's one example: http://arxiv.org/abs/1503.05245

I don't think they refer to that French artists' stag with bird's wings that the wikipedia article with the same title is about. (But who knows, maybe the universe is stranger than we can imagine.) What is a peryton in physics? And please don't say "a million perygram".


A paper came out this week pointing to them having a banal (if amusing) origin: they are from two 27 year old microwave ovens. When people get impatient and open the door before the timer runs down, a short burst from the ovens' magnetron is released, which appears as a peryton if the telescope is pointed in the right direction.

Figure 7. shows the perytons clustering around local lunchtime.


  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This should be selected as the correct answer. Reminds me of the so-called potassium flares in stellar spectra, which turned out to correlate suspiciously with the astronomer lighting a match for his pipe. $\endgroup$ – pela Apr 11 '15 at 12:32
  • $\begingroup$ Ouch, this sounds like bad news for someone. If at least it had been some secret military source. Not just a Philips microwave oven with the model brand name DSMC as in "Distant Supermassive Magnetar Collapse". Radiophysics is hard. (And how do the aliens know that humans eat at noon?) $\endgroup$ – LocalFluff Apr 11 '15 at 13:47
  • $\begingroup$ This answers where they come from, but not what a peryton is... $\endgroup$ – Nathan Reed Dec 25 '15 at 21:42

I got a translation of the article from the German Wikipedia. Here's an excerpt:

Perytons are in radio astronomy short radio signals having a length of a few milliseconds, which probably terrestrial are origin. The Perytons are named after mythical creatures .

In radio astronomy, terrestrial are noise is always a problem. A well-known noise signal are millisecond bursts of radio emission after a mythological hybrid creatures are called Perytons. Probably these signals are sidelobes captured the antenna. The Perytons occur at high altitudes above the horizon and show no frequency dispersion in contrast to the closely related radio bursts Fast . Perytons often occur as a result of periodic bursts. As a generation mechanisms are recombination of charge carriers three or synchrotron radiation of a collapsing magnetic field are discussed.

They can apparently come from aircraft, atmospheric phenomenon or solar radiation.

This paper and this paper go into more detail.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Great, I've created initial English version of wiki page based on the German version. Probably needs some further work. $\endgroup$ – kenorb May 11 '15 at 15:21

This paper describes them.


They were apparently given a new name because their origin was uncertain.


More on the perytons being caused by microwave ovens being opened while still operating. The microwave oven's magnetron is still generating the microwaves when the door is open before the timer has stopped the microwave.
Article: http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2015/04/10/rogue-microwave-ovens-are-the-culprits-behind-mysterious-radio-signals Study: http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.02165


protected by Qmechanic Apr 13 '15 at 11:52

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.