With some very fast accurate measurements from a radio telescope array, a radio burst called FRB 180924 (due to its detection date of Sept 24, 2019) has been pinpointed to be coming from a specific location in space. The location: the outskirts of a big galaxy called “DES J214425.25−405400.81“.
It was detected by the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), a network of 36 radio telescope in Western Australia.
Here’s where the signal originated:
For just the second time ever, researchers have pinpointed the location of a fast radio burst (FRB), a super-brief explosion that releases as much energy in 1 millisecond as Earth’s sun does over nearly a century. …
The scientists … measured the tiny differences in FRB 180924’s arrival time at the 36 ASKAP dishes down to about 1/100th of a nanosecond. Comparing these differences allowed them to determine the burst’s source in the sky with a precision of 0.00002 degrees — equivalent to the width of a human hair as seen from 650 feet (200 meters) away. …
More at Space
For the first time, the origin of a single radio pulse has been pinpointed to a distant galaxy several billion light years away, a new study said.
The cause of the bursts remains unknown but the ability to determine their exact location is a big leap towards solving this mystery, the study said.
The “fast radio burst” – a very short-lived pulse of radio waves that comes from across the universe – has been identified as originating from a Milky-Way-sized galaxy some 3.6 billion light-years away.
“This is the big breakthrough that the field has been waiting for since astronomers discovered fast radio bursts in 2007,” said study lead author Keith Bannister of Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.
… Since 2007, just 85 cosmic radio wave bursts have been detected, according to the Independent. … As for what the bursts are, ideas range from a rotating neutron star to, yes, a high-powered signal from an advanced civilization.
If you have any interstate in amateur astronomy, you may already know that the name of the galaxy tells its location in the sky using two coordinates: Right Ascension and Declination.
This two part tutorial can help you find a spot in the sky if you know the declination along with knowing your latitude above or below the equator on the earth and the and right ascension along with the current date and sunrise time.
Most humans will never need to know this, but if you have time and curiosity, it is interesting to learn.
Getting back to the FRB, another theory says it may be caused by a highly magnetized neutron star.
What type of signal was it? That’s what I’d still like to know that I could not find. What was the nature of this fast signal? Was it just a burst of static? A repeating pattern? Something more complicated?
I’ll update this if I find out. If you know, leave a comment for us.