Scientists spot most distant ‘fast radio burst’ recorded in history | Technology News


A new study that documented the most distant “fast radio burst” in history says that FRBs can be used to measure the mass of the universe.

Artist’s concept of a fast radio burst. (European Southern Observatory)

Researchers discovered a remote blast of cosmic radio waves that lasted less than a millisecond in June last year. This “fast radio burst” is the most distant ever detected and its source is in a galaxy so far away that it took eight billion years to reach us. It is also one of the most energetic ones ever observed. In a fraction of a second, it released the equivalent of 30 years of emissions from our Sun.

This discovery confirms that FRBs (fast radio bursts) can be used to measure “missing” matter between galaxies and can provide a new way to “weigh” the Universe, according to the European Southern Observatory. (ESO) Current methods of estimating the universe’s mass give conflicting answers and challenge the standard model of cosmology.

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“If we count up the amount of normal matter in the Universe — the atoms that we are all made of — we find that more than half of what should be there today is missing, We think that the missing matter is hiding in the space between galaxies, but it may just be so hot and diffuse that it’s impossible to see using normal techniques,” said Ryan Shannon, who co-led a study published on the FRB published in the journal Science, in a press statement.

FRBs “sense” this ionised material. Even in space that is almost completely empty, these bursts can “see” all the electrons. This allows scientists to measure how much stuff there is between galaxies according to Shannon.

“While we still don’t know what causes these massive bursts of energy, the paper confirms that fast radio bursts are common events in the cosmos and that we will be able to use them to detect matter between galaxies, and better understand the structure of the Universe,” added Shannon.

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First published on: 19-10-2023 at 23:30 IST


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