Mysterious fast radio bursts traced to spiral galaxy arms

  • 8 months   ago
Mysterious fast radio bursts traced to spiral galaxy arms
Scientists have traced the locations of multiple mysterious fast radio bursts back to their origins with help from the Hubble Space Telescope -- and it's not what they expected.
The cause of these mysterious millisecond-long radio blasts in space has eluded scientists since the phenomena was discovered in 2007. Given how quick they flare, these bursts, sometimes called FRBs, are very difficult to track and study.
Learning more about the origin of these bright, intense radio bursts could help scientists understand what causes them.
An international team of astronomers was able to trace the locations of eight fast radio bursts. While the origins of three remain inconclusive, the researchers used Hubble's deep-space imaging to pinpoint the distant galaxies where these bursts originated, including their exact locations within the galaxies.
The study has been accepted and will soon publish in The Astrophysical Journal.
Five of the radio bursts came from spiral galaxies. These are the most common type of galaxy across the universe, and our own Milky Way is a type of spiral galaxy.
One feature of these galaxies is that they have spiral arms where star formation occurs.
The radio bursts they traced were located along the arms of different spiral galaxies ranging between about 400 million to 9 billion light-years away.
These bursts may be brief, but each one creates more energy than our sun does over the course of an entire year. Scientists have discovered up to a thousand such bursts since 2007, but they have only been able to trace about 15 of them. Those 15 were found to originate in distant, young and massive galaxies.
Source: CNN