Space Research

Astronomers detect brightest fast radio burst ever

Astronomers have detected three new fast radio burst signals this month using the CSIRO’s Parkes Radio Telescope in Western Australia.

According to the team of astronomers behind the discovery, one of these fast radio bursts is a real record-breaker, with the highest signal-to-noise ratio of 411 ever recorded. This makes it the brightest fast radio burst ever been observed.

The latest three FRBs came in on March 1, March 9 and March 11, and have been named FRB 180301, FRB 180309 and FRB 180311 respectively.  The FRB detected on March 9, FRB 180309, has been termed as four times stronger signal as compared to normal FRBs detected by astronomers.

“The burst on 9 March was by far the brightest one we’ve seen,” said Professor Maura McLaughlin, from West Virginia University, reported Science Alert.

Fast Radio Burst or FRBs are strong blasts of radio waves that show up only for milliseconds with no prior warning and then disappear. The first Fast Radio Burst (FRB) was detected back in 2007 by Duncan Lorimer and David Narkevic. Since then 33 FRBs have been detected so far, including the three bursts that were observed earlier this month. The blasts can emit as much power as a hundred million suns!

As the majority of them don’t repeat, it is not at all possible to predict and trace them to a source.  FRB 121102 is an exception as it has been recorded as repeat signal and researchers at Japan’s Tohoku University were even able to locate its source in the suburbs of a dwarf galaxy 3 billion light-years away from Earth.

It is expected that the powerful radio telescope project, The Square Kilometre Array, which has been built across Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, could soon change the game. The Square Kilometre Array is a low-frequency opening network that will help capture even the lower-frequency signals. This means that discoveries of fast radio bursts will likely be more frequent in the future.

About the author

Megha Kedia

Megha Kedia

Megha is a seasoned reporter with over six years of experience covering news in technology, science and related fields. At The Space News, Megha covers space research & technology news.

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