More than 15 years after deep-space fast radio bursts were first discovered, their perplexing nature continues to surprise astronomers – and newly published research only deepens the mystery surrounding them.
A recently discovered, rare and persistent rapid-fire fast radio burst source – sending out an occasional and informative cosmic ping from more than 3.5 billion light years away – helps to reveal the secrets of the broiling hot space between the galaxies. That’s according to an international team of astronomers who published their findings in the journal Nature.
A highly active repeating Fast Radio Burst is raising new questions about the nature of such objects, and also raising doubts about their usefulness as cosmic yardsticks.
Nearly 15 years after the discovery of fast radio bursts (FRBs), the origin of the millisecond-long, deep-space cosmic explosions remains a mystery. That may soon change, thanks to the work of an international team of scientists – including UNLV astrophysicist Bing Zhang – which tracked hundreds of the bursts from five different sources and found clues in FRB polarization patterns that may reveal their origin.
With the help of the radio telescope located at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory, operated by the National Research Council of Canada, in British Columbia, Canada, the telescope has nearly quadrupled the number of FRB discovered to date.
Maura McLaughlin has been named a 2020 Highly Cited Researcher by Web of Science, one of the world’s top research awards.