Scientists at Swinburne University have for the first time captured live fast radio bursts, a phenomenon which has baffled astronomers since it was first discovered in 2007.
Before now, all of the incidences of fast radio bursts were discovered after the fact, but capturing the event live with the Parkes telescope has revealed that strong magnetic fields were present at the source.
Researchers believe the phenomenon could be a result of the collapse or explosion of a faraway star, or from the formation of a neutron star. They admit, though, that both of these theories could be wrong.
Whatever it might be, it’s certainly exciting to consider the possibility, no matter how remote, that it could be a form of intentional communication.
“These bursts were generally discovered weeks or months or even more than a decade after they happened! We’re the first to catch one in real time,” said Emily Petroff, a Ph.D. candidate co-supervised by CSIRO and by Swinburne University of Technology.
A simulation of CSIRO’s Parkes radio telescope capturing a fast radio burst as it happened.
[vid source] Swinburne Astronomy Productions
[img source] Swinburne Astronomy Productions