Profile image
Story Views

Last Hour:
Last 24 Hours:

Mystery cosmic radio blasts come with side of gamma rays

Wednesday, November 16, 2016 14:22
% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

(Before It's News)

BLASTS of radio waves from space may deliver a much bigger wallop than expected. For the first time, we have seen one of these enigmatic fast radio bursts occurring together with a spurt of gamma rays, meaning their joint source may be a billion times more energetic than we thought.

FRBs have proved baffling since their discovery in 2007. Each torrent of radio waves lasts no more than a few milliseconds and we have only spotted 17 of them so far.

Finding accompanying signals at other wavelengths may be the key to decoding their source. But to observe such a paired event, we would have to be watching the same area of the sky with a radio telescope and a telescope operating at different wavelengths when an FRB occurs there.

“We’ve been really unlucky so far: we’re almost always looking in the wrong places to be helpful,” says Emily Petroffat the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy.

But now we have a match. Derek Fox at Pennsylvania State University and his colleagues studied old data from the Burst Alert Telescope on NASA’s Swift spacecraft to see if any gamma-ray bursts coincided with FRBs. They found one example from 2013 (

That challenges lower-energy explanations for FRBs and points to their source being a more catastrophic event such as a supernova or neutron star merger. But it also increases the mystery in some ways, Fox says. “The whole suite of properties that we observed doesn’t really line up exactly with any of the predictions.”

Finding more bursts will help. “I’ve got my party hat ready,” says Petroff. “I think we’ll have the answer in the near future.”

This article appeared in print under the headline “Mystery radio bursts spew gamma rays too”


Report abuse


Your Comments
Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

Top Stories
Recent Stories



Top Global


Top Alternative




Email this story
Email this story

If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.