Baffling radio burst traced to a galaxy 36 billion lightyears away

first_img Baffling radio burst traced to a galaxy 3.6 billion light-years away CSIRO Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Fast radio bursts (FRBs)—intense blasts of radio waves from distant galaxies—have perplexed astronomers since they were first detected a dozen years ago. The bursts are so brief, only about one-thousandth of a second, that it’s usually impossible to pinpoint their origins—or their cause, be it a supernova, a neutron star, or something even more exotic.So far, almost all of the 85 detected FRBs are one-off events. But a couple have been seen to repeat, letting astronomers pinpoint where at least one of them comes from.Now, researchers have localized a second FRB, this time a nonrepeater. The team used an array of 36 radio dishes called the Australian Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Pathfinder (above), a precursor instrument to the planned SKA in Western Australia. Because the FRB signal arrived at each dish of the widely spaced array at slightly different times, the team could analyze the lags, measured in fractions of one-billionth of a second, to pinpoint the source in the sky. Email Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe By Daniel CleryJun. 27, 2019 , 2:00 PM With the help of follow-up observations using some of the world’s largest optical telescopes, astronomers identified the burst, FRB 180924, as coming from a medium-size galaxy 3.6 billion light-years from Earth, they report today in Science. But this presents a puzzle for theorists: The previously localized FRB came from a particular type of dwarf galaxy that provided one of the few clues to what could cause FRBs. If the new find comes from a very different galaxy, does that suggest repeaters and one-offs have different causes? Only more detections and localizations will answer that question—perhaps using new purpose-built telescopes that are joining the hunt.last_img

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