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Feb 25, 2016 01:53 PM EST

Scientists Track Mysterious Radio Flash Burst to Extremely Distant Galaxy

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Scientists tracked a mysterious fast radio burst (FRB) all the way to a galaxy some six billion light years from Earth.

According to BBC News, FRBs were only first discovered in 2007 and the one in question was just the 17th on record. In just a millisecond, an FRB can emit energy equivalent to what the sun outputs in thousands of years.

The researchers published their findings in the journal Nature.

"The good news is our observations and the model match - we have found the missing matter," study lead author Dr. Evan Keane, of the SKA Organization, said in a press release. "It's the first time a fast radio burst has been used to conduct a cosmological measurement."

The researchers set up telescopes to catch an FRB when another one occurred, and sure enough they captured one. Now, after detecting he FRB in April, the researchers were able to pinpoint the galaxy from which it originated. They opined the explosion could have been the result of multiple stars colliding and exploding.

"The goal was to reduce the lag from the thing hitting the dish, to us knowing that it hit the dish, from months - to nothing," Keane told BBC News. "A decade ago, we weren't really looking for them - and also our ability to handle the data and to search it in a reasonable time was significantly poorer."

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