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An 8 billion-year-old radio signal from deep space has been detected on Earth

An 8 billion-year-old radio signal from deep space has been detected on Earth

This 'fast radio burst' (FRB) is among the most distant ever detected, releasing the equivalent of our Sun's entire 30-year output in less than a millisecond

An international team has discovered a very distant burst of cosmic waves that lasts less than a millisecond. This “fast radio burst” (FRB) is one of the most distant explosions ever detected. Its source was discovered by the European Southern Observatory's VLT (Very Large Telescope) in a galaxy so distant that its light took eight billion years to reach us. This fast radio burst is also one of the most energetic bursts ever observed: in a fraction of a second it released the equivalent of our Sun's total output in 30 years.

FRB 20220610A

Fast radio blast
Artistic representation a Fast radio blast (FRB). Credit: iso/m. Grain fairs

The explosion, named FRB 20220610A, was discovered in June last year by the ASKAP radio telescope in Australia and It exceeded the previous distance record set by the same group by 50%. This discovery confirms that fast radio bursts can be used to measure “missing” matter between galaxies, providing a new way to “weigh” matter “missing” between galaxies.being. Current methods for estimating the mass of the universe give conflicting answers and challenge the standard model of cosmology.

The importance of disclosure

Fast Radio Burst (FRB)
Where is the radio?

Finding distant FRBs is crucial to accurately measuring the missing matter in the universe, explained Australian astronomer Jean-Pierre (“JP”) Macquart, who died in 2020. The result represents the limit of what can be achieved using telescopes today, although astronomers will soon have the tools to detect older, more distant flashes, pinpoint their sources and measure missing matter in the universe. SKAO (Square Kilometer Array Observatory) is currently building two radio telescopes in South Africa and Australia that will be able to find thousands of fast radio bursts, including telescopes too far away to be detected with current instruments. The European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (ELT), a 39-meter telescope under construction in Chile's Atacama Desert, will be one of the few telescopes capable of studying galaxies in which explosions originate farther away than FRB 20220610A.

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sourcecover credit Jingchuan Yu/Beijing Planetarium