Astronomers Detect Brightest Fast Radio Burst

Posted: Mar 18 2018, 9:04am CDT | by , Updated: Mar 18 2018, 9:08am CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 
Astronomers Detect Brightest Fast Radio Burst
The Parkes observatory. Credit: Daniel John Reardon

The brightest fast radio burst yet was recorded on March 9 this year

Researchers working at Australia’s Parkes Observatory have detected brightest fast radio burst to date. The observatory received a total of three fast radio burst signals during March this year but the one that came in March 9 was the strongest of them all. In fact, it was the brightest FRB ever observed.

“The record-breaking FRB came during a brief period in which three were recorded—all by the team at Parks—an earlier one occurred on March 1 and a later one on March 11.” Statement reads.

Fast radio bursts are extremely bright flashes of radio waves that appear randomly in the sky. They last for only a few milliseconds, too fast to detect in real time or to conduct follow-up observations with radio and optical telescopes. The first radio burst was recorded in 2007 and only 32 more have been found since. Fast radio bursts are so luminous that they are generally about a billion times brighter than anything we have ever seen in our own Milky Way galaxy.

Fast Radio Bursts have baffled astronomers over the years. Every day thousands of fast radio bursts occur in the sky but most of them go unnoticed. This is because radio telescopes are not pointing toward the direction of the target. Though fast radio bursts appear to come from the distant Universe, researchers have not been able to detect anything that might identify their cause or even exactly where they come from. Their origin and nature are still largely a mystery. Possible explanations for their source range from far off galaxies to supernova.

Researchers describe recording three FRBs in one month as quite "quite unusual," because they are unpredictable and generally difficult to detect. No one can tell when or where they will form. However, researchers suggest that that some radio bursts if not all repeat, which will eventually help them track their location.

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