September 10, 2019
China’s largest telescope has detected more than 100 mysterious radio pulses coming from a source around three billion light years from the Earth.
The strange signals are so-called fast radio bursts — rapid pulses of energy that come from unknown but high-energy sources out in space.
Researchers at the space observatory are continuing to monitor the signals, with the hope that further analysis will indicate how these radio pulses are being generated.
The unexplained signals were detected by China’s Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope — also known as FAST — and are currently being cross-checked and analysed, Chinese Academy of Sciences researchers report.
The telescope was studying a fast radio burst source known as FRB121102, which was first spotted in the sky by the Arecibo Observatory, in Puerto Rico, in 2015.
Astronomers at FAST have detected more than 100 bursts coming from FRB121102 since late August — the largest number of the pulses ever detected to date.
Fast radio bursts are tiny pulses of radio waves that last less than a few milliseconds and are the brightest radio phenomena known.
It is believed that the bursts are generated by a presently unidentified but high-energy process out in space.
The first fast radio burst was identified in 2007, based on data collected by the Parkes radio dish in New South Wales, Australia back in 2001.
Astronomers hope that studying the repeated bursts detected by FAST might help to determine exactly from where fast radio bursts come and how they are generated.
This article was posted: Tuesday, September 10, 2019 at 3:56 am