Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Mysterious Radio Waves From 11 Billion Light Years Away — Discovery Raises Interesting Questions

Interesting Questions Strange short-duration bursts of radio waves — some seemingly originating from regions that are over 11 billion light years away — have been detected by researchers over the past couple of years, but their origins have remained somewhat unclear.
But now, new research has begun to shed some light on these strange radio waves — terrestrial sources have been definitively ruled out, and there is good evidence that they are originating from extreme astrophysical events involving relativistic objects such as neutron stars, black holes, or magnetars.
Lead researcher, Dan Thornton, a PhD student at England's University of Manchester and Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, said: "A single burst of radio emission of unknown origin was detected outside our Galaxy about six years ago but no one was certain what it was or even if it was real, so we have spent the last four years searching for more of these explosive, short-duration radio bursts. This paper describes four more bursts, removing any doubt that they are real. The radio bursts last for just a few milliseconds and the furthest one that we detected was 11 billion light years away."