Written by Madhav Bahl, a grade 8 student
Radio bursts are a rare and fast occurrence in our space. They are visible from millions or even billions of light-years across space. Researchers had often assumed that they come from stellar flares or colliding neutron stars.
These are actually radio waves that release bursts of energy (more in a few thousandths of a second than the sun releases in nearly a century – imagine that!?)
On the 28th of April, NASA reported that it had observed a mix of X-Ray and radio signals, never observed before, in the Milky Way. Some people thought these were aliens, but of course, science proves otherwise.
This rare occasion was the first radio burst in our galaxy, the Milky Way.
It was detected by satellites including NASA’s Wind Mission, a radio telescope located at Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory in British Columbia, which is led by McGill University in Montreal, the University of British Columbia, and the University of Toronto.
The first fast radio burst (FRBs)– called the Lorimer Burst FRB 010724 – was detected in 2007 in archived data recorded by the Parkes Observatory on 24 July 2001. Since then, many FRBs have been found in previously recorded data.
Where was its source?
The source was from a neutron star, referred to as a “Magnetar”, which is located in the constellation Vulpecula and is estimated to be between 14,000-41,000 light-years away. This is a very long way away from our earth.
What is a Magnetar?
A magnetar is a type of neutron star believed to have an extremely powerful magnetic field. Neutron stars are made when giant stars die in supernovas and their cores collapse. This is when the protons and electrons basically melt into each other to form neutrons.
Does it signify aliens?
No, they are just caused by collision with powerful stars, though studies are still being done.
Significance of this discovery
This discovery is significant as there was no proof before this that magnetars were a cause for radio bursts and now we have a proof for this.
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