Astrophysicists have finally achieved a breakthrough after 12 years, following a singular rapid burst of radio until its source at a distance of about 3.6 billion light-years. The finding will tell us more about the composition of the universe.
The singular, millisecond lightning called FRB 180924, which contains the radio wavelengths of half a billion suns, was captured using the Australian Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), which performed 10 trillion raw measurements per second over a piece of sky. For the first time, a single flash was detected that was impossible to predict and almost impossible to comprehend.
Like a cosmic needle in a haystack, the research team literally searched billions of measurements within the data before discovering the signal.
"This is the great breakthrough that the field has been waiting for since astronomers discovered rapid bursts of radioactivity (FRBs) in 2007," astronaut Keith Bannister of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Australia said (1
By measuring the delays between the signals encountered by the 36 ASKAP dishes, the team was able to triangulate the position of the burst in two dimensions. Then three of the most powerful optical telescopes in the world were drawn in to triangulate the distance or the third dimension.
The delay between the beginning and the end of the eruption provides information about the volume of gas that has passed through the eruption on its way to Earth. It provides more insight into the composition of the universe and contributes to our understanding of the confusing space between galaxies.
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