Researchers at Cornell University and a team of astronomers have traced the source of a mysterious signal to a spot in the sky more than 3 billion light-years away.
Nearly a decade after the first fast radio burst was detecte, the international team of researchers pinpointed the origin of one signal as a dwarf galaxy in the constellation Auriga, CNN reported.
Scientists from Cornell originally thought the signal — sporadic bursts of radio waves — was coming from within the Milky Way itself. However, a report in the journal Nature confirms it emanates from a tiny galaxy that is 1 percent of the Milky Way's size.
"These radio flashes must have enormous amounts of energy to be visible from over 3 billion light-years away," Cornell University researcher Shami Chatterjee said in a statement.
Fast radio bursts were first discovered in 2007, CNN reported, and scientists have been trying to ascertain their origin and cause ever since.
There are currently 18 known fast radio bursts, but they were all detected by nonspecialist radio telescopes that were unable to narrow down their origin to a precise location, researchers at McGill University in Montreal said.
In 2012, scientists at Cornell discovered that one signal just three one-thousandths of a second long — FRB121102 — was repeating sporadically.
"There's a patch of the sky from which we're getting this signal — and the patch of the sky is arc minutes in diameter. In that patch are hundreds of sources. Lots of stars, lots of galaxies, lots of stuff," Chatterjee told CNN.
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Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com