According tomedia New Atlas, the universe seems to be filled with strange radio signals that come and go so quickly that it is hard to find their source. As a result, scientists do not yet know what causes these rapid radio bursts (FRBs). But now, astronomers have traced it back to a nearby galaxy – which could help solve the mystery.
The name of this behavior basically tells you everything you need to know. These radio bursts are very fast and usually last only a few milliseconds. They are made up of radio waves, but they burst into great energy. Since its discovery in 2007, scientists have discovered dozens of FRBs that appear to fall into two broad categories. Most seem to occur only once, while others repeat at unpredictable intervals.
Figuring out where they really came from is an important step towards determining what causes them. In the new study, an international team of astronomers identified the source of a repeat radio storm called FRB 180916, the closest signal ever recorded.
Sarah Burke-Spolaor, co-author of the study, said: “Identifying the host galaxy of the FRB is critical to telling us where the FRB is located and therefore the potential for frBs to actually occur. This is a problem that scientists are still studying. “
The team traced the signal to an area of about 7 light-years and identified it in a galaxy called SDSS J015800.28 and 654253.0, about 500 million light-years from Earth. This makes it the fifth FRB that the source galaxy has been positioned to locate, and the researchers determine its origin by using only a second duplicate signal.
In 2018, astronomers discovered that FRB 121102, the first ever repeat ingress of rapid radio storms, formed in a dwarf galaxy. Its emissions appear to have distorted, leading scientists to speculate that it is near a giant black hole or inside a nebula. But FRB 180916 appears to be located in a calmer part of the Milky Way.
Kevin Bandura, co-author of the study, said: “This particular repetitive FRB is very interesting, it is located in the spiral arm of a galaxy similar to the Milky Way, and is closest to Earth. The unique proximity and repeatability of this FRB may allow for observation at other wavelengths, and more detailed studies are possible to understand the nature of such FRBs. “
The study was published in the journal Nature.