February 27, 2024

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A big mystery surrounds “fast flashes” in the universe

A big mystery surrounds “fast flashes” in the universe

Sciences16 Dec 23 at 2:15 pmauthor: Donner Baker

According to previous research, fast radio bursts can generate as much energy in a millisecond as the Sun does in a year or more. But astronomers do not understand the causes of explosions. “The reason is unknown,” says Rob van den Berg, a space expert at the Sonneborg Observatory.

A big mystery surrounds “fast flashes” in the universe

“Many of those flashes only happen once.” To spot them, you have to have a telescope in just the right place. Image for illustration: Unsplash.

Bursts of radio waves in space are bright flashes lasting several milliseconds. According to scientists, it is one of the greatest mysteries that the universe has to offer. “Many of those flashes only happen once.” “To spot them, you have to have a telescope in just the right place,” van den Berg says.

It has now been discovered that some flashes repeat themselves. This allows scientists to position their telescope in the right place and then study the recurring flashes. “A pattern has now been discovered in the flash called ‘20220912A.’ It flashes several times a day and varies in strength,” says van den Berg.

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a reason

It is not known how flashes are generated. According to Van den Berg, “two suspects” can be identified. They could be two neutron stars colliding. These are the remains of burned out stars. They are very heavy, so once they collide with each other, they can cause a short flash. But this cannot happen several times a day.

“The recurring flashes could be magnetars,” van den Berg continues. “These are also the remains of burned-out stars.” But these are very magnetic. Such a magnetic field can sometimes produce a radio burst.

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