(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE ‘MORNING TICKER’)
Astronomers have detected what they are calling the strong burst of radio waves observed in space since all the way back in 2007.
An incredible strong fast radio burst from deep in outer space, the strongest recorded since 2007, has stunned scientists who are trying to figure out the cause. FRBs refer to radio waves that flash from some distsnace point in space for just a few milliseconds, and they can contain as much energy as 500 million suns.
They are so mysterious because they are impossible to predict, or trace to an individual source. They happen without warning and last for just a few milliseconds. These lastest bursts were detected by the Parkes radio telescope in Australia, once on March 1, again on March 9, and a third time on March 11.
The strongest was the one on March 9, which hit 411 on the signal to noise ratio. As comparison, the previous ratio record was 90, and many FRBs are less than 20. Scientists don’t know much about FRBs or what causes them, although they speculate incredibly powerful events like the collision of black holes or neutron stars might cause them.
The following is an excerpt from Wikipedia on FRBs.
In radio astronomy, a fast radio burst (FRB) is a high-energy astrophysical phenomenon of unknown origin manifested as a transient radio pulse lasting only a few milliseconds. The first FRB was discovered by Duncan Lorimer and his student David Narkevic in 2007 when they were looking through archival pulsar survey data, and it is therefore commonly referred to as Lorimer Burst. Many FRBs have since been found, including a repeating FRB.
When the FRBs are polarized, it indicates that they are emitted from a source contained within an extremely powerful magnetic field. The origin of the FRBs has yet to be determined; proposals for its origin range from a rapidly rotating neutron star and a black hole to extraterrestrial intelligence.
The first FRB, the Lorimer Burst FRB 010724, was discovered in 2007 when Duncan Lorimer assigned his student David Narkevic to look through archival data taken in 2001 by the Parkes radio dish in Australia. Analysis of the survey data found a 30-jansky dispersed burst which occurred on 24 July 2001, less than 5 milliseconds in duration, located 3° from the Small Magellanic Cloud. The reported burst properties argue against a physical association with the Milky Way galaxy or the Small Magellanic Cloud. The burst became known as the Lorimer Burst. The discoverers argue that current models for the free electron content in the universe imply that the burst is less than 1 gigaparsec distant. The fact that no further bursts were seen in 90 hours of additional observations implies that it was a singular event such as a supernova or merger of relativistic objects. It is suggested that hundreds of similar events could occur every day and, if detected, could serve as cosmological probes.
Because of the isolated nature of the observed phenomenon, the nature of the source remains speculative. As of 2016, there is no generally accepted explanation. The emission region is estimated to be no larger than a few hundred kilometers (because of causality). If the bursts come from cosmological distances, their sources must be very bright.
One possible explanation would be a collision between very dense objects like merging black holes or neutron stars. It has been suggested that there is a connection to gamma-ray bursts. Some have speculated that these signals might be artificial in origin, that they may be signs of extraterrestrial intelligence.
In 2007, just after the publication of the e-print with the first discovery, it was proposed that fast radio bursts could be related to hyperflares of magnetars. In 2015 three studies supported the magnetar hypothesis.
Blitzars were proposed in 2013 as an explanation. In 2014 it was suggested that following dark matter-induced collapse of pulsars, the resulting expulsion of the pulsar magnetospheres could be the source of fast radio bursts. In 2016 the collapse of the magnetospheres of Kerr-Newman black holes are proposed to explain the origin of the FRBs’ “afterglow” and the weak gamma-ray transient 0.4 s after GW 150914. It has also been proposed that if fast radio bursts originate in black hole explosions, FRBs would be the first detection of quantum gravity effects.
Repeated bursts of FRB 121102 have initiated multiple origin hypotheses. A coherent emission phenomenon known as superradiance, which involves large-scale entangled quantum mechanical states possibly arising in environments such as active galactic nuclei, has been proposed to explain these and other associated observations with FRBs (e.g. high event rate, variable intensity profiles).