Radio telescope near Penticton, B.C., opening new doors in astrophysics


The signal was detected at frequencies as low as 580 MHz, making it the first known fast radio burst below 700 MHz.

If that's not unusual enough, this particular fast radio burst is incredibly low, in the 580 megahertz frequency range - almost 200 MHz lower than any other fast radio burst we've picked up on before.

The pulse's fast, low frequency suggests that the blast was extremely bright and originated from an insanely powerful source somewhere in the cosmos.

And the signal has even been named - well, branded - "FRB 180725A".

While they are radio signals, FRBs don't hold any data that astronomers or researchers have been able to decipher.

Located in British Columbia CHIME radio telescope (Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment) is looking for signals passing through the vacuum of space.

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"The event is clearly detected at frequencies as low as 580 MHz and represents the first detection of an FRB at radio frequencies below 700 MHz".

The question that remains is uncovering where these signals have come from, with many possible theories being thrown into the mix. FRBs are milliseconds-long bursts of radio emissions. Boyle adds that odd event did not correlate with any known activities or other known sources. Most of the time, radio telescopes like this don't hear anything out of the ordinary, but every so often an unexplained signal finds its way through the noise, and that's exactly what happened on July 25th.

University of Nottingham astrophysics professor Christopher Conselice said the discovery could help pave the way for a greater understanding of what causes FRBs.

Unfortunately, we'll have to wait a long time before we know for sure if these sounds come from black holes colliding, exploding stars or aliens lurking in space. Beyond the visible spectrum, space is a colorful mess of radio signals and microwaves fired off by flaring "suns", collapsing stars, crackling magnetic fields, roiling dust clouds and seething black holes.

The study of FRBs is only in its incipient stages and astronomers are confident that more such radio signals will be detected as our technology progresses. FRB, was by astronomers here on Earth are incredibly large distances from sources located so far away in space that we can't even see them.