The magnetic field and turbulence of the cosmic web measured using a brilliant fast radio burst

Journal: Science

Published: 2016-12-09

DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf6807

Affiliations: 11

Authors: 16

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Research Highlight

In a galaxy far away

© bjdlzx/E+/Getty

© bjdlzx/E+/Getty

An international team of scientists has detected powerful bursts of radio waves from outside our Galaxy that could revolutionize astrophysics and cosmology, according to a study published in Science.

Using the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio telescope located in Western Australia, an international team, including researchers from Curtin University, Australia, detected three fast radio bursts originating from a galaxy billions of light years away.

The bursts are extremely intense, releasing huge amounts of energy in fractions of a second, and are imprinted with a record of the matter they encountered on their long journey across the Universe, making them one of the most mysterious and interesting signals detected in space.

The signals could help astronomers determine the density of the materials and strength of the magnetic fields they have passed through, providing deeper insights into the structure and mass of the Universe.

Supported content

  1. Science 354, 1249–1252 (2016). doi: 10.1126/science.aaf6807
Institutions Share
CSIRO Australia Telescope National Facility (ATNF), Australia 0.22
ARC Centre of Excellence for All-sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO), Australia 0.18
Swinburne University of Technology, Australia 0.15
California Institute of Technology (Caltech), United States of America (USA) 0.13
International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR), Australia 0.06
NSF National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), United States of America (USA) 0.06
Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIFR), Germany 0.06
Manly Astrophysics, Australia 0.06
Square Kilometre Array (SKA Organisation), United Kingdom (UK) 0.03
The University of Manchester (UoM), United Kingdom (UK) 0.03
Australian National University (ANU), Australia 0.02