Fast Radio Bursts Mystery Limited by Synchronized Telescopes

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To study the mysterious fast radio bursts scientists synchronized two telescopes in Australia, as reported at the end of October by the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR). Fast radio bursts are some weird millisecond-long energy emissions that have puzzled the scientists for some years now. Fortunately, the Australian synced telescopes limited the fast radio bursts mystery and shed more light on them.

Dozens of such fast radio bursts have been found since their first discovery in 2007. However, scientists don’t know much about how these radiations originate or what emits them. Now, thanks to the two Australian observatories, the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) and the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), researchers learned more about fast radio bursts, according to the study’s report published in the peer-reviewed Astrophysical Journal Letters.

ASKAP detected several very bright fast radio bursts, while the MWA did not identify any of those, although it was aiming towards the same region of the sky, at the same time, as ASKAP.

Fast Radio Bursts Mystery Limited by Synchronized Telescopes

“When ASKAP sees these extremely bright events and the MWA doesn’t, that tells us something really unexpected is going on; either fast radio burst sources don’t emit at low frequencies, or the signals are blocked on their way to Earth,” said Marcin Sokolowski from the Curtin University.

“Fast radio bursts are unpredictable, so to catch them when both telescopes are looking in the same direction isn’t easy. It took many months of ASKAP and the MWA co-tracking the same area of sky, ensuring the best overlap of their views possible, to give us a chance at catching some of these enigmatic bursts. The challenge was in making it all happen automatically, but it really paid off,” added Ramesh Bhat, also from the Curtin University.

“It’s really thrilling to have a clue about the origins of these incredible bursts of energy from outside our galaxy. The MWA adds an important piece of the puzzle, and it was only made possible with this ‘technological tango’ between the two telescopes,” also said  Jean-Pierre Macquart, another co-author of the study.

Vadim Ioan Caraiman

With over seven years of experience in online journalism, Vadim is passionate about everything related to science and the environment. For us, he will thus cover climate, environment, and science news, among others.


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