December 31, 2016

"Back in March, scientists detected 10 powerful bursts of radio signals coming from the same location in space. And now researchers have just picked up six more of the signals seemingly emanating from the same region, far beyond our Milky Way."

Science Alert: These fast radio bursts (FRB) are some of the most elusive and explosive signals ever detected from space - they only last milliseconds, but in that short period of time, they generate as much energy as the Sun in an entire day. But despite how powerful they are, scientists still aren't sure what causes them. by Fiona MacDonald

'Until the detection of the 10 repeating signals back in March, it was thought that the bursts were only ever one-off events, coming from random locations around space. And without a discernible pattern to them, researchers were left stumped as to what could be causing them.

'The reason we're so in the dark about FRB isn't that they're that uncommon - researchers have estimated that there are around 2,000 of these FRBs firing across the Universe every single day - but that they're so incredibly short-lived that we struggle to detect them.

'It was only in 2007 that we discovered FRB, and it wasn't until earlier this year that researchers were quick enough to see one happening in real time. Usually we have to study the events long after the fact.

'But now that we've detected 16 of the signals all coming from the same place, scientists might finally begin to narrow down options for what could be causing the powerful bursts.'

No comments: