Science

Cosmic waves discovery could unlock mysteries of intergalactic space

Cosmic waves discovery could unlock mysteries of intergalactic space”

And, at long last, over a decade after the first sounds have been recorded, an worldwide team of researchers has managed to place the location of a radio burst that was only heard once so far: it rests somewhere at the outskirts of a galaxy that is 4 billion light-years away. The array allowed the scientists to pinpoint the origins of the FRB with much more accuracy.

Some are "repeaters" and two years ago scientists were able to find its home galaxy but this is the first time that it has been done with a "one-off" ripple.

By using impressive technology and ingenious engineering, the research team was able to trace the location of the signal, essentially akin to finding a needle in a very large haystack.

The monumental findings, revealed in AAAS journal Science on Thursday, detail the discovery and localization of FRB 180924, a powerful, one-off fast radio burst that lasted for just a fraction of a second.

The only previously localized burst, the "repeater" is originating from a tiny galaxy that is forming lots of stars.

Data from the detection was used to create a map showing the point of origin.

A view of the ASKAP radio telescope array in Australia.

Fast radio bursts were first discovered in 2007, and since then astronomers have been on the hunt to discover more of them and learn more about them. Astronomers were able to locate the source of a repeating burst in 2017, but single bursts are much more hard to pin down, CNN said. They even determined a more specific point of origin, which is around 13,000 light-years away from that galaxy's center. Triangulating the position of a non-repeater with multiple observatories, however, is considerably more hard, as astronomers can't predict where the next one might appear. His team froze and saved data collected by the telescope, in less than a second after it detected the burst.

For the first ever time, astronomers have detected the exact location of a powerful one-off burst of cosmic radio waves using CSIRO's new Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio telescope in Western Australia. ".if the hosts of other bursts are similarly luminous as the host of FRB 180924", say the authors, "identifying hosts at high redshift will be easier than if bursts are exclusively hosted in dwarf galaxies, like the host galaxy of FRB 121102". Using these subtle time differences, the researchers were able to figure out which direction the burst came from, and approximately how far it traveled.

The delay between the start and end of the burst will tell us what volume of gas the burst passed through on its way to Earth, providing more insights about the composition of the universe while adding to our understanding of the perplexing space between galaxies.

The team then focused a number of telescopes around the world, including the Very Large Telescope and the Keck telescope to the spot the burst came from.



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