There’s a long list of scientific discoveries that continue to puzzle researchers around the world, and one of the most mysterious comes in the form of something called Fast Radio Bursts, or FRBs. Scientists suspect that these extremely bright flashes of light originate from outside of the Milky Way Galaxy, but they still aren’t entirely sure where in the universe they’re coming from, or what kind of event causes them.
Vikram Ravi of Caltech and Ryan Shannon at CSIRO and their team discovered the newest burst named FRB 150807 using the Parkes Radio telescope in New South Wales Australia.
The burst so was bright that it actually pinged two of the radio telescopes, marking the first time an FRB showed up in more than one instrument.
Ultimately the team ruled out the stars since they were located in the Milky Way, and after examining the six other candidates, they decided to put their money on a sizeable galaxy 1 billion light years away called VHS7. Scientists expect these FRBs to be the product of large cosmic explosions like supernovae, colliding black holes, pulsars, magnetars or even gamma ray bursts.
“FRBs carry the imprint of the medium that they’ve traveled through. The radio waves from the burst interact with the ionized gas between us and it’s source,” explains Shannon.
“With this FRB we saw an imprint of a very diffuse galaxy and a diffuse intergalactic medium.” Because of the brightness of this particular burst and showing up on two telescopes, it gives the team more clues about the cosmic web – the vast space that exists between all objects in the universe.
The newest FRB actually had little evidence of Faraday rotation, leading the team to believe that the area that the radio wave traveled through wasn’t very magnetic, and that the “Space” was thinner in that region.