Caught in the act: Cosmic radio burst

January 19, 2015 4:32 PM

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Caught in the act: Cosmic radio burst

Fast radio bursts are quick, bright flashes of radio waves from an unknown source in space. They are a mysterious phenomenon that last only a few milliseconds, and until now they have not been observed in real time. An international team of astronomers, including three from the Carnegie Observatories, has for the first time observed a fast radio burst happening live. Their work is published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

There is a great deal of scientific interest in fast radio bursts, particularly in uncovering their origin. Only seven fast radio bursts have previously been discovered, since the first one found in 2007. All were found retroactively by combing through data from the Parkes radio telescope in eastern...

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