Scientists have observed the most powerful fast radio burst (FRB) ever – an intensely brilliant burst of radiation emanating from outside our own Milky Way galaxy.
The signal, which researchers say travelled at least a billion light-years to reach Earth, only lasted for a fraction of a second, but the observation could help us understand more about the epic gaps that exist between galaxies, called the cosmic web.
“FRBs are extremely short but intense pulses of radio waves, each only lasting about a millisecond,” says astrophysicist Ryan Shannon from Curtin University in Australia. “Some are discovered by accident and no two bursts look the same.”
There’s a lot we still don’t understand about FRBs and where they come from, partly because we’ve so far witnessed very few of them.
This new burst – called FRB 150807 – is just the 18th FRB detected to date since they were first discovered in 2001.
But despite this …