Mystery Cosmic Radio Bursts Source Found

Posted: Jan 5 2017, 5:34am CST | by , in Latest Science News


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Mystery Cosmic Radio Bursts Source Found
The globally distributed dishes of the European VLBI Network are linked with each other and the 305-m William E. Gordon Telescope at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. Together they have localized FRB121102's exact position within its host galaxy. Credit: Danielle Futselaar via
  • Cosmic Origins discovered for Enigmatic and Powerful Radio Pulse

The cosmic origins have been discovered for an enigmatic and powerful radio pulse.

Researchers and astronomers have discovered the cosmic source of a quick radio burst. Once upon a time, these bursts were thought to originate from within our very own Milky Way galaxy or neighboring galaxies. Yet now we know better.

They are in fact long distance signals from across the universe itself. These flashes are over 3 billion light years away from the earth, according to a new report published Jan. 4 in the journal Nature. The fact that they are visible means that they have a lot of energy to back them up.

The astronomers are especially quite excited about it all. Now they can do astrophysical analysis on the source of this burst and identify the galaxy that contains its point of origin.

Fast radio bursts or FRBs were first identified a decade ago. In 2012, astronomers used the Arecibo Observatory to capture the first really prominent FRB.

It lasted merely three one-thousandths of a second. It was termed FRB 121102. A few weak FRBs had been identified before this. FRB 121102 has its nesting site in the Auriga constellation.

A certain region in the sky was the source of this signal. There were hundreds of stars, galaxies and other astronomical phenomena in this patch of the sky.

To gain access to this spot, astronomers used analysis tools, the latest telescopes and terabytes of data. The Arecibo radio telescope came in quite handy in this scheme of things.

Also a radio telescope array was used to search high and low in the night sky for the signal. After two days of vigilant waiting, the scientists hit paydirt.

The FRB was caught in action. The slice of the sky which was examined was unique and singular in its nature. The spectrum of this FRB consisted of hydrogen, oxygen and other elements.

The next step is identifying the nature of the source. It could be a neutron star with a huge magnetic field. Whatever it is, it still remains a mystery. Yet the scientists are busy tinkering away to resolve the mystery.

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