Mysterious Radio Signals From 11 billion Light Years Away Detected


Billions of light years away, radio waves are created, travelling across space until they eventually make it to Earth. Now, scientists have detected these mysterious bursts of radio waves, ruling out terrestrial sources and instead revealing that they probably originated at cosmological distances when the universe was only half its current age.
About six years ago, a single burst of radio emission of unknown origin was detected outside our galaxy. At the time, though, researchers weren't certain what it was or if it was even real; some speculated that it was a fluke or that the readings were incorrect.

That's when scientists set out to find more of these radio waves, spending the last four years combing the universe in search of their existence.
In order to find these radio waves, the researchers used the CSIRO Parkes 64 meter radio telescope in Australia. This allowed them to detect the waves and find out a little bit more about them.

More specifically, they were able to locate four more bursts, removing any doubt of their existence.

Lasting for just a few milliseconds, the furthest burst was detected about 11 billion light-years away.
"The bursts last only a tenth of the blink of an eye," said Michael Kramer, Max-Planck Institute Director, in a news release. "With current telescopes we need to be lucky to look at the right spot at the right time.

But if we could view the sky with 'radio eyes' there would be flashes going off all over the sky every day." In fact, researchers believe that it's possible that these bursts could be going off every 10 seconds.
The burst energetics of the waves indicated that they probably originated from an extreme astrophysical event involving relativistic objects such as neutron stars or black holes.

It's likely that they're associated with some kind of extreme event involving large amounts of mass or energy.

That said, researchers still can't say with certainty exactly what might have caused the radio waves. However, they certainly have some theories.
It's possible that these bursts may be from magnetic neutron stars, known as "magnetars." Since magnetars give off more energy in a millisecond than our own sun does in 300,000 years, they're prime candidates for the source of these radio bursts.
The radio bursts also have practical applications. The results from this latest study will provide researchers with a way of finding out the properties of space between Earth and where the bursts occurred.

The scientists plan to use the radio bursts like probes in order to better understand the matter in the universe.

Mysterious radio bursts from young universe detected