Published: 2:54 PM 7/14/2022
roughly a billion light years away...
Ashley Strickland, CNN / Space /
The signal is the longest to be detected yet - and is believed to have come from a galaxy roughly a billion light years away.
A mysterious radio burst with a pattern similar to a heartbeat has been detected in space.
Astronomers estimate that the signal came from a galaxy roughly a billion light-years away, but the exact location and cause of the burst is unknown. A study detailing the findings published Wednesday in the journal Nature.
Fast radio bursts, or FRBs, are intense, millisecond-long bursts of radio waves with unknown origins. The first FRB was discovered in 2007, and since then, hundreds of these quick, cosmic flashes have been detected coming from various, distant points across the universe.
Many FRBs release super bright radio waves lasting only a few milliseconds at most before disappearing completely, and about 10 per cent of them have been known to repeat and have patterns.
Fast radio bursts are so quick and unexpected that they’re difficult to observe.
One resource used to spot them is a radio telescope called the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment, or CHIME, at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory in British Columbia, Canada.
This telescope, in operation since 2018, constantly observes the sky and, in addition to fast radio bursts, is sensitive to radio waves emitted by distant hydrogen in the universe.
Astronomers using CHIME spotted something on December 21, 2019, that immediately caught their attention: a fast radio burst that was “peculiar in many ways,” according to Daniele Michilli, a postdoctoral researcher in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research.
The signal, named FRB 20191221A, lasted for up to three seconds - which is about 1000 times longer than typical fast radio bursts.