What are fast radio bursts?
Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) is a term used in radio astronomy for high-energy pulses of transient radio emissions that lasts on average just milliseconds.
Back in August 2017, researchers on the Breakthrough Listen project used the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia to spot 21 fast radio burst the span of an hour emanating from FRB 121102, within a dwarf galaxy 3 million light years away.
Breakthrough Listen is a science-based program to search for intelligent extraterrestrial communications in the Universe. With $100 million in funding and thousands of hours of dedicated telescope time on state-of-the-art facilities, it is the most comprehensive search for alien communications to date.
The project began in January 2016, and is expected to continue for 10 years.
There are some in the scientific community who think FRBs come from fast-rotating neutron stars, but have yet to find their source.
On September 10, 2018, Breakthrough listen announced that they’ve used artificial intelligence to discover 72 new FRBs.
Whether or not FRBs themselves eventually turn out to be signatures of extraterrestrial technology, Breakthrough Listen is helping to push the frontiers of a new and rapidly growing area of our understanding of the Universe around us.
For further information on FRBs, check out the following links:
Rod is a blogger, writer, filmmaker, photographer, daydreamer who likes to cook. Rod produces and directs the web series, CUPIC: Diary of an Investigator. He is also the editor, producer and administrator of TNC Network.