Fast Radio Bursts
(FRBs) are short yet powerful pulses of radio waves from outer space. Its first discovery was in 2007. Since then, 18 FRBs have been identified.
The vastness of the universe and the FRBs' brief waves make it difficult for the experts to pinpoint its exact origin. However, a striking news recently shook the grounds of astronomers.
Formerly, FRBs were found using single-dish radio telescopes. However, this device cannot precisely locate the source of the flashes.
Thus, Dr. Chatterjee, from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and his colleagues used a multi-antenna radio telescope called the Karl G Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) located in New Mexico to know where these radio signals are coming from.
Among these 18 FRBs, one remains repeating. This flash known as FRB 121102, recurred several times since 2012.
Dr. Chatterjee said to BBC
, "When we reported last year that one of these objects was repeating, that - in one go - knocked out about half of those models, because for this one source, at least, we knew it couldn't be explosive. It had to be something where the engine that produced this survived for the next flash."
In 83 hours of observing, over six months in 2016, the VLA detected nine bursts from FRB 121102.
"We now know that this particular burst comes from a dwarf galaxy more than three billion light-years from Earth," said Dr. Chatterjee.
The staggering finding is published in Nature journal
and has outlined them at the 229th American Astronomical Society (AAS) meeting in Grapevine, Texas. The discovery sparked tons of varying theories about where these flashes come from.
"This persistent radio source could be an active galactic nucleus (AGN) at the centre of a galaxy that's feeding (consuming matter from its surroundings), sending out jets, and these sizzles we see are little bits of plasma being vaporised in the jets," said Dr Chatterjee.
"That's not the interpretation we favour. The one we favour is that maybe it's a baby magnetar - a neutron star with a massive magnetic field - and it's got a nebula surrounding it that's powered by the energy being lost by this object. Every once in a while, we're getting a flash from this baby magnetar."
Now, we may all have this common question in mind: are these signals from ET or from exploding planets destroyed by the Death Star?