Astronomers detect mysterious energy explosions 8 billion years old

TIME.CO, Jakarta – For astronomer detected a powerful burst of radio waves originating from what appears to be a galaxy merger that occurred about 8 billion years ago. This is the oldest known phenomenon and the so-called fast radio bursts remain unexplained.

This explosion in less than a millisecond releases the amount of energy that our sun emits in three decades, the researchers said, as quoted by Reuters. It was detected using Australia’s SKA Pathfinder, a radio telescope in the state of Western Australia. Its location was pinpointed by the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in Chile, one of the most powerful optical telescopes.

Fast radio bursts, or FRBs, are waves of radio frequency electromagnetic radiation. Its duration is only a fraction of a second, but it exceeds most other sources of radio waves in the universe. Radio waves have the longest wavelength in the electromagnetic spectrum.

“The radio waves in an FRB are similar to those used in a microwave oven. “The amount of energy contained in this FRB is equivalent to heating a bowl of popcorn twice the size of the sun in a microwave oven,” said astronomer Ryan Shannon of Swinburne University of Technology in Australia. , one of the leaders of the research published this week in the journal Science.

To date, the oldest known explosion occurred 5 billion years ago, making it older than 3 billion years. The universe is approximately 13.8 billion years old. For comparison, the earth is about 4.5 billion years old. When observing past objects and events, astronomers observe enormous cosmic distances, making this explosion also the most distant of any FRB ever detected.

“We now know that fast radio bursts have occurred for more than half the age of the universe,” said astronomer and study co-leader Stuart Ryder of Macquarie University in Australia.

Fast radio bursts were discovered in 2007

“The most likely source is a highly magnetic neutron star, called a magnetar. These stars are stellar corpses that have the mass of the Sun but are only the size of a small city. “They are one of the most extreme objects in the universe, necessary to produce such an extreme explosion,” Shannon said.


“There are more energetic events in the universe, related to exploding stars or black holes destroying a star. “But FRBs are unique because they produce all their energy in radio waves and are not visible in other bands – optical light or X-rays for example – and their signals are very short,” Shannon added.

Shannon added that this phenomenon is even more common, with more than 100,000 estimated to occur every day somewhere in the universe. Far fewer have been detected, Shannon said, and only about 50 – including this one – have been traced back to the galaxy from which they originated.

“Galaxies in the distant universe look different from nearby galaxies – they don’t have any distinctive spiral arms – so it’s not clear whether what we’re seeing is a galaxy with a few clusters or a few smaller galaxies. the source is several galaxies, perhaps merging,” Shannon said.

Researchers say studying these explosions could also help detect and measure large amounts of matter believed to inhabit intergalactic space. As these radio waves travel through the cosmos, they can signal the presence of this intergalactic plasma, a gas so hot that some or all of its atoms split into subatomic particles, electrons, and ions.

“Most matter is normal in nature universe – this is the ordinary matter that forms stars, planets and humans – is thought to exist in a network of cosmic gases spread across galaxies,” Shannon said. “People have been searching for this problem for decades using other techniques. Because it is so dispersed, it is almost invisible in any other way, so it is thought to be “lost”.

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