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Artists impression of ASKAP antennas at Murchison Radioastronomy Observatory

Researchers discover the origin of single fast radio burst for the first time

This universe has always been a box full of mystical discoveries. Such a recent discovery was of radio waves that are emitted from an unknown source for a momentary period,  termed as Fast Radio Bursts. The study has been published in the Science journal.

The very first FRB was discovered in the year 2007. Since then the scientists have been successful in detecting 86 FRB’s. On the other hand, there are almost 2000 FRB’s which show up in the sky but because of their fleeting nature, it becomes very difficult to detect them.

Generally, these fast radio bursts are of two types where either there will be one-off FRB and the other can be repeating FRB. This recent discovery of FRB suggested that it is a one-off FRB which lasted for 1.3 milliseconds. It was named FRB-180924 and this name helps in knowing the date on which it was detected i.e. 24th September 2018.


There is a consensus amongst all the scientists where they know that they cannot track the origin of any one-off FRB but on the contrary, FRB-180924 was tracked by a team from Australia Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organization. The results of this unprecedented feat reveal that this one-off FRB was originated from the outskirts of a milky way sized galaxy nearly 3.6 billion light years far away from earth.

The international team was able to do this task through the help of an advanced array of antennas a.k.a Australian Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder (ASKAP). The ASKAP takes almost 10 trillion raw measurements per second for an entire patch of sky.

Before the tracking of FRB-180924, scientists have been able to track one FRB which belongs to the repeater FRB category and thus its tracking was comparatively very easy. Its name is FRB-121102 discovered in a star-forming region of a dwarf galaxy almost 3-billion light years away from our Universe.

Therefore, to track FRB-180924 the ASKAP which comprises of 36 telescopes was arranged in such a manner that all these telescopes were concentrated to a small part of the sky which helped researchers to get observations, just like getting 36 separate instant replays of the incidence.

Keith Bannister who led this research project claims that this discovery will help in understanding the Universe.

Even after gathering all of this information, the reason behind the occurrence of such FRB’s is still unknown. But with time it is assured that this discovery will prove to be a milestone for many more mind-blowing discoveries which will help in revealing the hidden truths of this universe.


About the author: Kalpit Veerwal
Kalpit Veerwal is a second year Computer Science undergraduate at IIT Bombay. He is well known for being the only person to score 360/360 in JEE (Main). He is registered in the Limca Book of Records for the same. A blogger in his free time, he has also secured top ranks in various exams held in India and the world.

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