Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs)


  • Astronomers have been working to better understand the galactic environments of fast radio bursts (FRBs) – intense, momentary bursts of energy occurring in mere milliseconds and with unknown cosmic origins.

Fast radio mysteries

  • FRBs, first detected in 2007, are incredibly powerful pulses of radio waves.

    Fast Radio Bursts
    Photo Credit: Reuters
  • They originate from distant galaxies, and the signal typically only lasts a few milliseconds.
  • FRBs are immensely useful for studying the cosmos, from investigating the matter that makes up the universe, to even using them to constrain the Hubble constant – the measure of how much the universe is expanding.
  • However, the origin of FRBs is an ongoing puzzle for astronomers.
  • Some FRBs are known to repeat, sometimes over a thousand times. Others have only been detected once.
  • CSIRO’s ASKAP radio telescope (Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder), located in the Western Australian desert, is a remarkable instrument. Made up of an array of 36 dishes separated by up to six kilometres, ASKAP can detect FRBs and pinpoint them to their host galaxies.
  • ASKAP was able to find the cold neutral hydrogen gas – the source of star formation – in this spiral galaxy.
  • As far as FRB host galaxies go, this is already a rare detection of this gas; only three other cases have been published so far. These had required follow-up observations, or relied on other older observations, made with different telescopes.

Source: TH

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