Fast Radio Burst Puzzle Solved by Using Four Telescopes

Fast radio bursts have puzzled astronomers since their discovery in 2007. Find out how scientists have revealed their origin and their variability.

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Detecting Fast Radio Bursts Since 2007

Astronomers have been detecting fast radio bursts since 2007. Duncan Lorimer of West Virginia University was the first researcher to notice one.

Couldn’t Explain the Origin of the “Lorimer Burst”

Scientists have continued to spot these unexplained bursts from time to time. They identified six of them in 2019, and there have been three so far this year.

Four of the Best Radio Telescopes in Europe

They aimed four of the best radio telescopes in Europe at SGR 1935+2154. These were the 25-metre RT1 telescope at Westerbork, Netherlands, the 25-metre and the 20-metre telescope at Onsala Space Observatory, and the 32-metre telescope in Toruń, Poland.

Random Intervals, Varied Enormously in Brightness

The bursts the team detected happened at random intervals and varied enormously in brightness. The brightest flashes are more than ten million times more brilliant than the dimmest ones.

Hundreds of Trillions of Times Stronger than Sun

Magnetars are a type of neutron star, known for their unimaginably powerful magnetic fields. A magnetar’s magnetic field is hundreds of trillions of times more potent than the magnetic field of our Sun.

Important to All of Us — It Explains Our Own Origins

All of the complex chemical elements that make up the world around us, and our own bodies, come from the explosions that mark a star’s death. Those explosions emit the atoms that make life on our planet possible.

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