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Enigmatic Fast Radio Bursts

from New Scientist

Mystery cosmic radio blasts come with side of gamma rays

By Leah Crane

Artist's impression of a telescope pointing at a bright lightNASA

BLASTS of radio waves from space may deliver a much bigger wallop than expected. For the first time, we have seen one of these enigmatic fast radio bursts occurring together with a spurt of gamma rays, meaning their joint source may be a billion times more energetic than we thought.

FRBs have proved baffling since their discovery in 2007. Each torrent of radio waves lasts no more than a few milliseconds and we have only spotted 17 of them so far.

Finding accompanying signals at other wavelengths may be the key to decoding their source. But to observe such a paired event, we would have to be watching the same area of the sky with a radio telescope and a telescope operating at different wavelengths when an FRB occurs there.

“We’ve been really unlucky so far: we’re almost always looking in the wrong places to be helpful,” says Emily Petroff at the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy.

[ click to continue reading at New Scientist ]

Posted on November 19, 2016 by Editor

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