[ExI] Fast Radio Bursts - mystery

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Wed May 1 15:13:23 UTC 2024

Inside the quest to map the universe with mysterious bursts of radio energy

Astronomers still don’t know what causes fast radio bursts, but
they’re starting to use them to illuminate the space between galaxies.
By Anna Kramer     May 1, 2024


When our universe was less than half as old as it is today, a burst of
energy that could cook a sun’s worth of popcorn shot out from
somewhere amid a compact group of galaxies. Some 8 billion years
later, radio waves from that burst reached Earth and were captured by
a sophisticated low-frequency radio telescope in the Australian

The signal, which arrived on June 10, 2022, and lasted for under half
a millisecond, is one of a growing class of mysterious radio signals
called fast radio bursts. In the last 10 years, astronomers have
picked up nearly 5,000 of them. This one was particularly special:
nearly double the age of anything previously observed, and three and a
half times more energetic.

But like the others that came before, it was otherwise a mystery. No
one knows what causes fast radio bursts. They flash in a seemingly
random and unpredictable pattern from all over the sky. Some appear
from within our galaxy, others from previously unexamined depths of
the universe. Some repeat in cyclical patterns for days at a time and
then vanish; others have been consistently repeating every few days
since we first identified them. Most never repeat at all.


More information about the extropy-chat mailing list