Parkes Observatory records brightest fast radio burst ever

Researchers working at the Parkes Observatory in Australia have reported that they have recorded the brightest fast radio burst (FRB) ever. The team says that the FRB had a high signal-to-noise ratio with an "orientation not very favorable for a detection of any gamma ray transient with INTEGRAL all-sky detectors."

An FRB is a millisecond burst of radio waves that come from unknown parts of space. The first ever FRB was recorded in 2001 but researchers didn't notice and verify it until 2007. Since then 32 additional FRBs have been recorded and of those, only one occurred more than once.

That FRB was recorded twice and allowed the scientists to trace it back to the originating galaxy. The other 31 FRBs are shrouded in mystery to this day. Scientists are uncertain what causes the FRBs, but suspect they are created by cataclysmic events that involve black holes or neutron stars.

The team at Parkes recorded three FRBs with one on March 1, one on March 9, and another on March 11. Recording three in a month is said to be quite unusual because FRBs are normally hard to record because of their unpredictability. No one knows what part of the sky they will happen in.

Researchers know little about FRBs due in part to the limited number of recordings. What the scientists do believe is that they all come from many billions of light years away and that since we could detect them so far away, the source had to be incredibly bright. This indicates neutron stars or black holes experiencing huge events.