Scientists discover ‘heartbeat’ radio waves from space
These radio signals that come from galaxies billions of light-years away can potentially give us an insight into what’s happening in the universe
Astronomers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have discovered fast radio bursts from another galaxy billions of light-years away that resemble the pattern of a heartbeat.
What is a fast radio burst? Previous Deseret News reporting defines fast radio bursts as “milliseconds short radio wave bursts from space.”
- Regular radio bursts usually emit once from space without repeating, but a fast radio burst will send out short radio waves multiple times in a row.
Details: The exact source of these heartbeat radio bursts are still unknown. However, scientists at MIT believe they could come from a neutron star.
- Neutron stars are “extremely dense, rapidly spinning collapsed cores of giant stars,” according to MIT.
- This specific radio signal, which scientists named FRB 20191221A, had a duration of three seconds, which is around 1,000 times longer than a typical fast radio burst, per CNN.
- This radio burst is also unique because it is over a million times brighter than bursts from our own galaxy, MIT stated.
Why does it matter? Insider says that these radio signals can give us a clearer picture of space and the activity of the remote parts of the universe.
- If the bursts continue to emit from this source, MIT scientists say they can use the frequency of the bursts and study how they change to potentially measure the rate at which the universe is expanding.