Skip to Content
Space

Repeating radio bursts from outside our galaxy have been detected for the second time

January 10, 2019

The powerful signal came from about 1.5 billion light-years away, at least twice as close as the first detected repeating burst.

The news: A repeating fast radio burst (FRB) has been detected by the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME), a new radio telescope. As they reported in two papers in Nature yesterday, researchers detected 13 radio bursts, six of which came from the same location. This is only the second time a repeating burst has been recorded.

How CHIME works: Using a series of four semicircular dishes, the telescope stays pointed consistently in the same direction, waiting to pick up signals. While it was waiting to come fully online, it picked up these 13 FRBs.

Some background: The first repeating burst was discovered back in 2007 by looking through data recorded six years before that. It prompted a lot of speculation, but much of it was difficult to verify without more data. The bursts are notoriously hard to catch and measure because of their millisecond length.

What made them? Researchers aren’t sure but believe they come from powerful astrophysical events far from Earth. They’re hoping this new data will help them figure out more details about what created them. By finding bursts coming from the same location, CHIME gives the team more data to home in on their origin as well.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

10 Breakthrough Technologies 2024

Every year, we look for promising technologies poised to have a real impact on the world. Here are the advances that we think matter most right now.

Scientists are finding signals of long covid in blood. They could lead to new treatments.

Faults in a certain part of the immune system might be at the root of some long covid cases, new research suggests.

AI for everything: 10 Breakthrough Technologies 2024

Generative AI tools like ChatGPT reached mass adoption in record time, and reset the course of an entire industry.

What’s next for AI in 2024

Our writers look at the four hot trends to watch out for this year

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.