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Updated: Jun 28, 2022

Isn’t it fascinating how new mysteries being hidden deep inside the secrets of the cosmos unleash themselves? To start with, Fast radio bursts, or FRBs, are extremely bright pulses of radio waves that come from faraway galaxies. They release as much energy in a millisecond as the Sun over a year.

The heart of the milky way galaxy also known as the galactic centre is emitting some unusual radio waves and extraordinary signals that are unlike anything known to humanity. They are not coming from a star or a planet but a new kind of celestial object, the story is genuinely puzzling, the question is could this be a new sign of life in outer space?

The search for life beyond Earth has been the biggest force behind inter-planetary exploration and it is about to get much more interesting. A newly discovered source of repeating fast radio bursts has deepened the mystery of what, precisely, could be producing these powerful outbursts. The source, first detected in 2019 and named FRB 190520B, seems to be frequently spitting out millisecond bursts of powerful radio waves. This being the second of its kind, raises more questions about its origins. 

These were detected using a massive telescope in China. Being called a 'cosmic mystery', astronomers are getting closer to solving it and have been able to trace them back to their home galaxies. However, they are yet to determine the actual cause of these pulses.

Radio waves have the longest wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum. It is suspected that these bursts may be unleashed by certain extreme objects. These might include a neutron star, the compact collapsed core of a massive star that exploded as a supernova at the end of its life cycle; a magnetar, a type of neutron star with an ultra-strong magnetic field; and a black hole messily eating a neighbouring star.

They are also called Fast radio bursts, or FRBs, and are difficult to track and observe as these transient pulses disappear in much less than the blink of an eye. Since their first discovery, astronomers have struggled to understand what causes this phenomenon.


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