Fast radio burst tied to distant dwarf galaxy and, perhaps, magnetar

One of the rare and brief bursts of cosmic radio waves that have puzzled astronomers since they were first detected nearly 10 years ago has finally been tied to a source: an older dwarf galaxy more than 3 billion light years from Earth.

The Very Large Array pinpointed for the first time the location of a fast radio burst in a dwarf galaxy about 3 billion light years from Earth. Artist’s impression by Danielle Futselaar (

Fast radio bursts, which flash for just a few milliseconds, created a stir among astronomers because they seemed to be coming from outside our galaxy, which means they would have to be very powerful to be seen from Earth, and because none of those first observed were ever seen again.

A repeating burst was discovered in 2012, however, providing an opportunity for a team of researchers to repeatedly monitor its area of the sky with the Karl Jansky Very Large Array in New Mexico and the Arecibo radio dish in Puerto Rico, in hopes of pinpointing its location. Continue reading…

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