There's something out there: Mysterious fast radio bursts originate from distant dwarf galaxy

There's something out there: Mysterious fast radio bursts originate from distant dwarf galaxy

The repeating fast radio burst came from a galaxy some three billion light years away from Earth.

We may not know exactly what they are, but we now know where one of them came from.

For the first time, astronomers have pinpointed the home galaxy of a "fast radio burst," which are very short-lived pulses of radio waves that come from outer space. The discovery pushes scientists closer to understanding what causes these powerful but fleeting pulses of radio waves, which some people speculate could be signals from alien life.

Fast radio bursts, which are highly energetic but last just a few thousandths of a second, have puzzled astrophysicists since their discovery a decade ago. Since 2007, 18 of these bursts have been recorded by telescopes around the world. But only one, discovered in November 2012 at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, has repeated numerous times.

By using telescopes from around the world, "we now know that this particular burst comes from a dwarf galaxy more than three billion light-years from Earth," said astronomer Shami Chatterjee of Cornell University.

Prior to this discovery, astronomers had lacked the definitive proof that the bursts come from far outside our Milky Way galaxy.

The dwarf galaxy itself, which is less than 1% of the mass of our Milky Way galaxy, is rather unremarkable. “It is surprising that such an exotic source is hosted by such an unimpressive galaxy,” said Joan Schmelz of the Arecibo Observatory.

Though where the burst comes from may have been solved, exactly what it is remains uncertain. The top candidates, the astronomers suggested, are a potpourri of outer-space objects, anything from a neutron star to a supermassive black hole.

“There is still a lot of work to do to unravel the mystery surrounding fast radio bursts,” said McGill physics professor Victoria Kaspi, a senior member of the international team that conducted the research. “But identifying the host galaxy for this repeating fast radio burst marks a big step toward solving the puzzle.”

Scientists presented their findings at the American Astronomical Society's meeting in Grapevine, Texas, in the peer-reviewed British journal Nature, and in companion papers in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

There's something out there: Mysterious fast radio bursts originate from distant dwarf galaxy

The dishes of the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array are seen making the first-ever precision localization of a fast radio burst, and thereby pointing the way to the host galaxy.



Add Comment

all comments

  Other news

more
Trash on the tracks

Trash on the tracks..

22-Apr, 20:18

Up to three trains a week arrive at the Zwentendorf plant. Each carries...

Arthur Collins charged over London nightclub 'acid attack'

Arthur Collins charged over London nightclub 'acid attack'..

23-Apr, 18:23

The boyfriend of The Only Way Is Essex star Ferne McCann has been charged...

Want Nintendo's NES Classic? Better hurry to a Best Buy tomorrow

Want Nintendo's NES Classic? Better hurry to a Best Buy tomorrow..

23-Apr, 19:24

The mini collector's edition NES. Purchases will be limited to one NES...

TOWIE’s Megan McKenna and Pete Wicks REUNITE as star launches brand new Essex restaurant MCK Grill

TOWIE’s Megan McKenna and Pete Wicks REUNITE as star launches brand new Essex restaurant MCK..

23-Apr, 15:18

But now it seems the former couple are attempting to put the past behind...

Father of Tennessee teen: She 'may not be exactly' the person she was prior to alleged abduction

Father of Tennessee teen: She 'may not be exactly' the person she was prior to alleged..

23-Apr, 15:02

The father of the Tennessee teen found more than a month after she was...

Iraqis haunted by war overwhelm mental health facilities

Iraqis haunted by war overwhelm mental health facilities..

10-Apr, 04:10

Six-year-old Mustafa suffers nightmares, cries at the sound of airplanes...

Samsung Galaxy S7: Cutting-Edge Smartphone for the Klutz in Us All

Samsung Galaxy S7: Cutting-Edge Smartphone for the Klutz in Us All..

07-Mar, 00:31

Good looks apparently run in the family. The latest progeny from...

Every Question Episode 3864

Every Question Episode 3864..

17-Feb, 22:28

The following Every Question Episode 3864 English Sub has been released....