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Communications Space Earth Technology

Astronomers Pinpoint Location of Mysterious Cosmic Radio Bursts ( 50

New submitter Netdoctor writes: Fast Radio Bursts (FRB) are massively powerful short-lived radio bursts from far-away sources, and so far a number of theories exist on what generates them. Recently several were detected in the same general location, which adds to the mystery, as any of these pulses would be powerful enough to destroy a source. Since this group of FRBs were detected with single radio telescope dishes, the exact location was difficult to pinpoint. BBC reports here with results from the Very Large Array in New Mexico being trained on the source. From the report: "Outlining their work at a major conference, astronomers say they have now traced the source of one of these bursts to a different galaxy. Dr Chatterjee, from Cornell University, New York, and colleagues used a multi-antenna radio telescope called the Very Large Array (VLA), which had sufficient resolution to precisely determine the location of a flash known as FRB 121102. In 83 hours of observing time over six months in 2016, the VLA detected nine bursts from FRB 121102. In addition to detecting the bright bursts from FRB 121102, the team's observations also revealed an ongoing, persistent source of weaker radio emission in the same region. The flashes and the persistent source must be within 100 light-years of each other, and scientists think they are likely to be either the same object or physically associated with one another. He said some features of the radio source resembled those associated with large black holes. But he said these were typically found only in large galaxies."
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Astronomers Pinpoint Location of Mysterious Cosmic Radio Bursts

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 05, 2017 @06:14AM (#53609091)

    I didn't know there were Samsung Galaxy phones in outer space...

  • by Buchenskjoll ( 762354 ) on Thursday January 05, 2017 @06:15AM (#53609097)
    To me it felt like a disturbance in the force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.
  • Scientists now searching for equally mysterious WPA or WEP key.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      They should try looking on the bottom of the router, or a sticky note under the keyboard.

    • by MrKaos ( 858439 )
      tough crowd.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 05, 2017 @07:55AM (#53609303)

    Are the bursts periodic? If the hypothesis of a neutron star orbiting a black hole is correct, it suggests there should be not only a repeating series of bursts, but they should also be periodic. It's widely reported that the bursts are repeating, but I have yet to see any discussion of them being periodic. That may provide some clues as to the mechanism responsible.

    Regarding the alien speculation from some (non-science) publications, it's easy to assume that aliens are responsible for unexplained radio signals. When repeating radio signals with a period of 1.33 seconds were discovered in 1967, it was assumed by many to be signals from aliens. However, it is now accepted that jets of electromagnetic radiation from a rotating neutron star are responsible for such signals, and the phenomenon is now known as a pulsar. A lot of caution is warranted before advancing such a hypothesis.

  • Obiously a war between alien races. Let's get involved!
  • by Grand Facade ( 35180 ) on Thursday January 05, 2017 @10:02AM (#53609827)

    To within 100 light years!


  • It's obviously an advertisement for Universal Pizza trumpeting their new intergalactic pizza delivery service. That's one of the few signals powerful enough to cut through the galactic noise.

    The only other thing it might be is a "free beer while supplies last" beacon, which would also be powerful enough to attract attention of all sentient beings.

  • That light from over 6,000 years ago hit earth yet the objects are said to be 100 million light years apart?! Impossible