TECH

Scientists Find Origin Of Mysterious Fast Radio Burst 10,000 Times More Powerful Than Our Sun

25/02/2016 11:54

Something is happening in the universe, it's on a scale that's thousands of times larger than anything we can comprehend and we have literally no idea what it is.

neutron star

One possible theory is it could be a neutron star - one of the most powerful objects in the universe.

Experts have come up with a range of theories ranging from a collapsing black hole, two neutron stars colliding or even aliens.

All we experience is the shockwave from it - an immense radio pulse that spans billions of light years and has, until now, only been detected months or even years after it has taken place.

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These Fast Radio Bursts have been baffling scientists for years for a number of reasons. For starters they're incredibly rare, in fact we have only 16 recorded instances of them taking place.

Secondly we have absolutely no idea what causes them. Astronomers are able to estimate from the power of the shockwave that the event, whatever it is, produces more energy in less than a second than our own sun can produce over 10,000 years.

csiro

Scientists used the Parkes Observatory radio telescope in Australia to measure the event as it happened.

That's an event of almost unimaginable power, and yet don't know what it is or where it comes from.

Thankfully though this mystery has proven to be extremely frustrating for the scientific community and if there's one thing they don't like, it's unanswered questions.

Well now a team of scientists have teamed up to create what could be described as an 'Early Warning System' which allows them to find evidence of these events far quicker and then track their source.

milky way

As we get better at 'listening' to the universe we'll be able to better track these immense cosmic explosions.

The most recent event, which took place in April 2015, has now been tracked to a galaxy some 6 billion light years away and while we still have absolutely no idea what it is, this is a crucial first step to finding the answers.

One of the biggest advantages of this new method though is that it actually allows us to 'weigh' the universe. By measuring the speed at which different shockwaves hit us and the delay between them we can actually estimate the amount of 'dark matter' that's slowing them down without our knowledge.

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