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Dr. Sky

Fast radio bursts are powerful broadcasts from the cosmos

(Pixabay.com Photo)

One of the most amazing phenomenon in astronomy is the mysterious burst of energy known as fast radio burst.

First detected in 2007, these millisecond pulses of intense energy were once thought to be background emissions from human sources, such as radar and microwave installations.

Recent research into the topic tends to agree that the source is of a cosmic nature.

One theory links these powerful broadcasts to alien civilizations deep in the heart of distant galaxies.

If that were true, the source of generating these amazing amounts of energy are hard for most humans to comprehend.

Just how powerful are these bursts?

If the burst was of the gamma-ray variety, a one-second burst releases more energy than our sun does in a billion years.

What might be the mechanism behind these bursts?

There is speculation that the energy mechanism might be the collision of two black holes, pulsar collapse, or a new variety of a highly charged magnetic star known as a magnetar.

These fast radio bursts have been detected only a few times.

A new radio telescope; the Molongo radio telescope in Australia, has been searching the sky for more of these bursts. In one evening of observation, this radio telescope can capture well over 1,000 terrabytes of data.

In comparison, all the data pages on Wikipedia contain some 5.87 terrabytes of data.

This amazing data pool is then carefully searched for these faint millisecond pulses in the night.

Well, at least we know that the signals are not from the microwave oven down the hall!

April skies offer something for everyone! Get your own Dr. Sky April star chart.

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