Home > Astronomy, Astrophysics, Cosmology, General Astronomy > Cosmic Radio Bursts Point To Cataclysmic Origins In The Distant Universe

Cosmic Radio Bursts Point To Cataclysmic Origins In The Distant Universe

Mysterious bursts of radio waves have been detected that appear to have originated from billions of light years away. They have left scientists pondering what may have caused them. An international team of researchers including scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn could rule out any terrestrial origin for the four discovered fast radio bursts. Their brightness and distance estimates indicate that the bursts originated at cosmological distances, when the Universe was just 6 to 9 billion years old. The emission process for these bursts is not known yet.

Four Fast Radio Bursts or FRBs with durations of only a few milliseconds were detected at high Galactic latitudes in the southern sky.

The extremely short duration of the bursts and the inferred great distance imply that they have been caused by some cataclysmic cosmological event, such as two merging neutron stars or a star dying or being swallowed by a black hole.

The results point to some of the most extreme events in astrophysics involving large amounts of mass or energy as the source of the radio bursts. “A single burst of radio emission of unknown origin was detected outside our galaxy about six years ago but no one was certain what it was or even if it was real, so we have spent the last four years searching for more of these explosive, short-duration radio bursts”, says Dan Thornton, the University of Manchester and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation PhD student who led the study. “This paper describes four more bursts, removing any doubt that they are real. And the furthest one we detected after a light travelling time of about 8 billion years.”

Full Story: http://www3.mpifr-bonn.mpg.de/public/pr/pr-science-jul2013-en.html
Also: http://www.manchester.ac.uk/aboutus/news/display/?id=10345

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