A group of Australian researchers have detected the strongest fast radio burst ever recorded, but its source remains unknown.
Scientists at the Australia-based Parkes Observatory said their instruments recorded a string of three fast radio bursts, one of which was the strongest to reach Earth. The record radio burst was detected on March 9.
The radio bursts have scientists divided over their origins. While some people believe that they stem from colliding neutron stars other people believe they are signs of an alien civilization.
Fast radio bursts are radio emissions with a cosmic origin that last only a few milliseconds. Researchers stumbled across the first fast radio burst in 2001, but the phenomenon got an official name in 2007.
The source of most of these mysterious radio signals is located some place outside the Milky Way. Also, most of them remain undetected as scientists lack the necessary instruments.
An Unusually Strong Fast Radio Burst
The March 9 radio burst, dubbed FRB 180309, lasted milliseconds and the energy it emitted matched that of a million suns. FRB is the short form of fast radio burst, while 180309 represents the date when it was first captured. The other two FRBs are called FRB 180311 and FRB 180301.
The strongest FRB had a signal-to-noise ratio of 90. With a 411 signal-to-noise ratio, FRB 180309 was the strongest to date. Over the last decades, only 33 FRBs have been detected. A FRB that appeared in November 2012 was the first and only FRB to repeat. The vast majority of FRBs flash only once and they never make a comeback.
Researchers made the discovery via Parkes Observatory’s Parkes radio telescope, which was launched in 1961 and has been active ever since. The radio telescope is currently scouring the skies 24/7 in its search for cosmic radio signals.
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