Researchers discovered a supermagnetized stellar remnant known as a magnetar that blasted out a simultaneous mix of X-ray and radio signals never observed before on April 28. This included the first fast radio burst (FRB) ever detected from within the Milky Way galaxy, thus showing that magnetars can produce these mysterious radio blasts previously only seen in other galaxies. For those who have not heard of magnetars, they are basically a type of isolated neutron star remains that is many times larger than our Sun. Read more for a video and additional information.
There currently is no logical explanation for these fast radio bursts, but scientists theorize they could be from colliding black holes or even extraterrestrial starships. However, the most scientific explanation would be that these bursts originate from neutron stars. This one was discovered using the Survey for Transient Astronomical Radio Emission 2 (STARE2) array of three radio antennas in California and Utah, and the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) radio telescope in Okanagan Falls, Canada.
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The radio burst was far brighter than anything we had seen before, so we immediately knew it was an exciting event. We’ve studied magnetars in our galaxy for decades, while FRBs are an extragalactic phenomenon whose origins have been a mystery. This event shows that the two phenomena are likely connected,” said Paul Scholz, a researcher at the University of Toronto‘s Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics and a member of the CHIME/FRB Collaboration.