It's no surprise that our galaxy, let alone the universe at large, is full of mysteries. Given the expanse of space, there's no way that we humans on Earth can learn all there is about it. We're constantly seeing new discoveries, innovations, and phenomena born from galactic research.
Sometimes, though, instead of us finding new information, that information gets brought to us by a pulse that's been traveling for billions of years.
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Through The Cosmos
A group of astronomers has detected a radio signal that's been traveling throughout space for a remarkable 8 billion years.
This signal is what's known as a fast radio burst, or FRB, a still rather mysterious celestial phenomenon that doesn't get recorded very often. Even more astounding is that this FRB is the oldest FRB ever seen, setting a new precedent for the potential lifetime of other signals like this that could be bouncing around the universe.
A Moment In Time
These signals aren't really traceable due to their age and our limited knowledge of the universe at large. All we know is that they originated somewhere in the deep, extremely distant corners of space. The first FRB ever recorded was in 2007.
How these signals get created also remains unknown, but it involves a lot of energy. The catalyst event takes place and sends a short pulse of energy throughout space, that pulse eventually reaching us here on Earth.
Not only is this latest FRB recording the oldest one to date, but out of the hundreds that have been detected, it's also the most powerful, most energetic one yet.
"The burst has the energy that the sun produces in 30 years… That is enough power to microwave a bowl of popcorn about two times the size of the sun," said Ryan Shannon from the Swinburne University of Technology, one of the people involved in the discovery of this particular FRB.
Once In A Lifetime
The team, based in Australia, used the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio telescope to observe the FRB, named FRB 20220610A, noting that it was over three times more energetic than any previously recorded FRB.
The same FRB is rarely recorded twice; it's usually a singular blip that appears so briefly in our human measurements of time but existing and ever-expanding over millions of years. It's believed they come from magnetized neutron stars in very, very distant galaxies, but that has yet to be confirmed.
A Massive Discovery
Though, after FRB 20220610A was discovered, a team did use the Very Large Telescope in Chile to inspect the area of the sky that it came from, and in doing so, discovered a grouping of galaxies that they believe might contain the origin point of this particular signal. This discovery did further enforce the previous theory about neutron stars, too.
Neutron stars are the densest objects in the universe and are the existing remnants of previously massive stars that went supernova.
The Makeup Of Space
Researchers are hoping to use these signals to better understand our universe, namely the structure and materials within it. This is because the further a signal comes from, the more 'diffuse gas' it encounters, carries, and reveals between the galaxies it travels across. FRBs are also capable of sensing ionized materials.
When these FRBs are measured, they can detect and record these materials and gases to learn much about where that signal has traveled through.
As Shannon explained, the work this team is doing "confirms that fast radio bursts are common events in the cosmos and that we will be able to use them to detect matter between galaxies and better understand the structure of the universe."
Any advancement that promises to solve some mysteries of the universe is one to behold and one we should all be in awe of, especially those of us who don't work in this field. Proof that this universe is so much larger than us is scary to some, comforting to others, but fascinating for all.
The skies are full of fascinating knowledge, some that remain more mystical than others, but all offering deep, insightful wisdom. Take that first leap of faith and unlock the potential for success that you've been searching for all this time.
Click this link for a free astrological reading to take that first step toward making your passions a reality. With the right guidance and with a little help from the stars, you can unlock a whole new world of opportunity!