Scientists discover spate of new mysterious radio signals

12 Octobre, 2018, 04:39 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Scientists discover spate of new mysterious radio signals

Fast radio bursts are brief, bright pulses of radio emission from distant sources.

An artist's impression of CSIRO's Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio telescope observing FRBs. The team's discoveries, reported in the journal Nature, include the closest and brightest fast radio bursts ever detected.

Researchers using a radio telescope in Western Australia have detected 20 mysterious, powerful wave signals known as "fast radio bursts" in the past year - nearly double the number of unique signals detected worldwide since they were discovered in 2007.

The mysterious bursts are believed to involve incredible amounts of energy - the equivalent of what the sun puts out in an 80-year period.

Lead author Dr Ryan Shannon from Swinburne University of Technology said, 'We've found 20 fast radio bursts in a year, nearly doubling the number detected worldwide since they were discovered in 2007.

Jean-Pierre Macquart, from the Curtin University in Australia, said bursts travel for billions of years and occasionally pass through clouds of gas. When this happens the various wavelengths that make up the burst are slowed at different rates.

"Eventually, the burst reaches Earth with its spread of wavelengths arriving at the telescope at slightly different times, like swimmers at a finish line", Macquart said.

The discovery of 20 in this latest survey was bolstered by the use of new technology found in the Australia Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), which also confirmed that FRBs are coming from the other side of the universe, rather than within our own galactic neighbourhood.

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CSIRO's Keith Bannister, who engineered the systems that detected the bursts, told Morning Report scientists still did not know what caused them.

"And because we've shown that fast radio bursts come from far away, we can use them to detect all the missing matter located in the space between galaxies - which is a really exciting discovery".

Despite still having no idea what they are, Australian researchers using the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) telescope in Western Australia have discovered a record haul of fast radio bursts (FRBs).

The SKA could observe large numbers of fast radio bursts, giving astronomers a way to study the early Universe in detail.

The team will now look to pinpoint the locations in the sky where the FRBs came from.

"That's about the width of a human hair seen 10 meters away, and good enough to tie each burst to a particular galaxy", Shannon said.

The researchers and their institutions acknowledge the Wajarri Yamaji as the traditional owners of the MRO site.

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