Australian astronomers have taken a giant step towards solving the cosmic mystery behind the elusive phenomena known as "Fast Radio Bursts".
This technology was used to pinpoint the location of FRB 180924 to its home galaxy (DES J214425.25?405400.81).
In order to accomplish this feat, an worldwide team of astronomers employed the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) using an advanced array of antennas, managed to catch the signal "in the act" and triangulate its point of origin to "two dimensions in space", and then used "the world's most powerful optical telescopes", Gemini, Keck and the VLT, to determine the distance to their target. His team froze and saved data collected by the telescope, in less than a second after it detected the burst.More news: Tom Holland reveals another 'Avengers' spoiler
While the repeating FRB detected a few years ago was likely created by a neutron star or supernova explosion (common engines of star formation in active galaxies), this individual burst could have been caused by something else entirely, the researchers wrote.
Finding out the sources of space radio bursts has previously been discovered, but locating the exact point of origin had not yet been successfully done. A lot of them are "one-off" and a small fraction are "repeaters" that recur in the same location.
This finding was published in the journal Science where the astronomers detail how they discovered and localized the signal, dubbed FRB 180924.
Bannister quite rightly boasts "If we were to stand on the Moon and look down at the Earth with this precision, we would be able to tell not only which city the burst came from, but which postcode - and even which city block". They believe that fast radio bursts could ultimately help us learn what's in between galaxies, after all, and that they could give us a more complete picture of our universe.More news: Calculated Kamala? Harris accused of cashing in on segregation with $30 T-shirt
Team member Dr Jean-Pierre Macquart (Curtin University node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR)) is an expert on using fast radio bursts to probe the Universe.
The bursts can act like a signature for decoding the space between star systems.
The observations come as for the first item astronomers have been able to identify the home galaxy of a one-off FRB. "This suggests that fast radio bursts can be produced in a variety of environments". By knowing where they come from, we get nearer to figuring out how and why they happen.
Stuart Ryder (Macquarie University, Australia), J. Xavier Prochaska (University of California Santa Cruz, USA) and Nicolas Tejos (Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso, Chile) carried out the optical observations.More news: Has Kylie Jenner revealed her second pregnancy?
A view of the ASKAP radio telescope array in Australia. CSIRO acknowledges the Wajarri Yamaji as the traditional owners of the MRO site.