Record 'Fast Radio Bursts' Detected From Deep Space

12 Octubre, 2018, 04:39 | Author: Enrique Watson
  • New load of mysterious alien signals detected in one big haul

Antennas of CSIRO's Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio telescope. The latest detections are the closest and brightest bursts on record.

Researchers have used a radio telescope in Australia to almost double the number of known "fast radio bursts" - mysterious, powerful radio flashes from deep space.

These events have durations of milliseconds and exhibit the characteristic dispersion sweep of radio pulsars.

The leading theory suggests that they are caused by cataclysmic episodes like colliding black holes or neutron stars.

Despite considerable efforts over the past decade, only 34 fast radio bursts have been reported.

Fast radio bursts are among the most mysterious and elusive outer space phenomena of recent years.

Over the course of billions of years, these bursts travel across the universe to us, but every so often they pass through a cloud of cosmic gas, slowing them ever so slightly.

"We've found 20 fast radio bursts in a year, nearly doubling the number detected worldwide since they were discovered in 2007", said Ryan Shannon from the Swinburne University of Technology in Victoria.

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Scientists do not know what causes these mysterious radio waves or which galaxies they come from but say they must involve incredible energy, equivalent to the amount released by the sun over 80 years.

CSIRO's Dr. Keith Bannister, who engineered the systems that detected the bursts, said, 'The telescope has a whopping field of view of 30 square degrees, 100 times larger than the full Moon.

"Using the new technology of the Australia Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), we have also proved that fast radio bursts are coming from the other side of the universe rather than from our own galactic neighbourhood", said Shannon.

"Timing the arrival of the different wavelengths tells researchers how much material the burst has travelled through on its journey".

"And because we've shown that fast radio bursts come from far away, we can use them to detect all the missing matter located in the space between galaxies-which is a really exciting discovery", he says.

The team's next challenge is to pinpoint the locations of bursts on the sky. "We'll be able to localise the bursts to better than a thousandth of a degree".

"That's about the width of a human hair seen 33 feet (10 m) away, and good enough to tie each burst to a particular galaxy".

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