Mysterious Radio Burst Pinpointed to Distant Galaxy

For the first time, astronomers have tracked down the location of a fast radio burst (FRB), confirming these short but spectacular flashes of radio waves originate in the distant universe.

Australian astronomers announced last week that they successfully used Tesla GPUs and CSIRO radio telescopes in eastern Australia and Japan’s Subaru telescope in Hawaii to trace the source of the burst to a galaxy about 6 billion light-years away.

CSIRO’s Compact Array in Australia, one of the telescopes used to make the FRB discovery.

“We’ve always thought that fast radio bursts were very far away but this discovery proves it,” said Dr Simon Johnston, Head of Astrophysics at CSIRO and a member of the research team.

“It’s important for two main reasons. Firstly it opens the door to understanding what causes these mysterious bursts, and secondly it proves that we can use FRBs to do cosmology and test what our Universe is made up of,” Johnston continued.

The CSIRO blog mentions that most FRBs (16 have been previously detected) have been found by sifting through recorded data months or even years after it was captured, by which time it was too late to detect its origin.