Scientists crack mystery of fast radio bursts

Scientists have traced a recent FRB to a galaxy that is about 6 billion light years away.

Ian Marsh | Mar 20, 2016

   

Scientists have now figured out where a mysterious radio blast from deep in space came from.

Fast radio bursts (FRB) are massive flashes of radio waves that originate from somewhere deep in the universe, and contain as much energy in one millisecond as the sun expects in 10,000 years, according to a Fox News reportck.

Now, scientists have traced a recent FRB to a galaxy that is about 6 billion light years away.

FRBs were first recorded in 2007, but they are rare: only 17 have been observed since then, even though they likely happen 10,000 times per day.

This finding is important because it could help scientists figure out what produces these bursts of radio waves. It also confirms their existence and could help find matter in the universe that has gone missing, as 70 percent of the known universe is made up of dark energy, and another 25 percent is dark matter, leaving just 5 percent of it as ordinary matter that we know of. Only half of it has been found when adding up all the matter of the stars and gas, however, meaning that more of it is out there that we haven't been able to find.

These FRBs could help us weigh the universe to figure out how much ordinary matter there is.

In the past, scientists had to sift through data to find FRBs, which was a slow process. Now, scientists have found a way to detect them in seconds, allowing them to alert other scientists to train their telescopes on them.

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