Astronomers Determine Location Of Fast Radio Bursts From Distant Galaxy

Astronomers have found the source of fast radio bursts in a galaxy more than 3 billion light years from Earth.

Earlier this week we told you about Fast Radio Bursts originating from an unknown point in our universe. Just recently, a team of researchers from McGill University in Canada, pinpointed the location of the unknown FRBs. It was initially unclear where these signals were coming from; whether from inside our galaxy or somewhere wholly outside of it, but now it’s been located in a distant galaxy 3 billion light years from our home planet.

“Before we knew the distance to any FRBs, several proposed explanations for their origins said they could be coming from within or near our own Milky Way galaxy. We now have ruled out those explanations, at least for this FRB.”

– Shriharsh Tendulkar, McGill University Researcher

The team of astronomers observed the sky for over six months making use of 83 hours of telescope time, and they were able to locate FRB 121102 an astonishing 9 times. To obtain the information the team made use of the National Science Foundation’s Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope and the Gemini North Telescope in Hawaii. Using these tools, they found a faint galaxy producing these outbursts.

A visible-light image shows the host galaxy to the fast radio burst FRB 121102. (Gemini Observatory/AURA/NSF/NRC)

During the observations the team also located a set of weaker bursts nearby. They believe the second source of FRBs is within 100 light-years from FRB 121102. Due to the distance, scientists believe the burst could be originating from the same object, or by another object that is somehow associated.

This research was published in the journal Nature and Astrophysical Research Letters.

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