Jan 06, 2017 03:03 AM EST
Scientists Finally Identify Source Of 'Fast Radio Bursts' Discovered A Decade Ago
Astrophysicists have finally been able to trace an intense and bright burst of radio waves back to its home galaxy. Its source is actually a bit surprising considering how powerful the cosmic flashes are.
Space.com reported that scientists were able to identify the source of "fast radio burst," or FRB. This phenomenon, which is characterized by flickers of light, were discovered a decade ago, in 2007.
While the burst just last for a fraction of a second, it emits more energy in that very short period of time than what the Sun can radiate in 10,000 years. 18 FRBs have been detected over the years. However, scientists believe that one of these bursts happen somewhere in space about once every 10 seconds.
It is still unknown what causes these intense burst of radio waves. A new study has found that one burst, which is named FRB 121102, came from inside a dwarf galaxy located about 3 billion light years away from Earth.
This dwarf galaxy is a collection of stars which are smaller than the ones found in large galaxies like the Milky Way. Cees Bassa, an astronomer at the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON), said that it was unexpected to find out that the burst came from a dwarf galaxy.
In a statement with McGill University in Montreal, study co-author Shriharsh Tendulkar described the discovery as surprising since most FRBs are expected to come from large galaxies, which has more stars and neutron stars. The dwarf galaxy source may have fewer stars but it is forming them at a high rate.
Tendulkar added that this may prove that FRBs are linked to young neutron stars. Moreover, their observations also found a continuing, persistent source of weaker radio emission from the same region.
CNN noted that the scientists spent more than 50 hours in examining the skies to detect a signal. This latest discovery could pave the way for finding the cause of these FRBs.
Join the Conversation