Space & Astronomy
Fast radio burst traced back to home galaxy
By T.K. Randall
June 28, 2019 · 8 comments
Scientists are still unsure what is responsible for the bursts. Image Credit: NASA/ESA/ESO
For the first time ever, astronomers have been able to trace a fast radio burst back to its galaxy of origin.
Fast radio bursts, which last mere milliseconds yet generate as much energy as the Sun does in an entire day, have remained something of an enigma since their discovery back in 2007.
Now scientists have, for the first time, succeeded in tracing one of these enigmatic bursts all the way back to its home galaxy a whopping 3.6 billion light years away.
It took an array of 36 parabolic antennas - which together form the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) telescope - to determine the direction of the burst and how far away it was.
"These bursts are altered by the matter they encounter in space," said study co-author Jean-Pierre Macquart from the International Center for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR). "Now we can pinpoint where they come from, we can use them to measure the amount of matter in intergalactic space."
The question remains however - what produced this particular burst ?
As things stand, nobody is quite sure.
"It comes from a massive galaxy that is forming relatively few stars," said astrophysicist Adam Deller. "This suggests that fast radio bursts can be produced in a variety of environments."
Source: Live Science
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