Brightest fast radio burst ever detected picked up in Australia


On March 9, the brightest Fast Radio Burst detected so far was picked up by CSIRO’s Parkes Radio Telescope, located in Australia. Dubbed FRB 180309, it had a signal-to-noise ratio of 411, making it the brightest one we’ve seen “by far.”

Detection of FRB 180301 with the Breakthrough Listen backend instrument at CSIRO’s Parkes Radio Telescope: the top panel shows the de-dispersed pulse while the bottom panel shows the frequency structure with the pulse dispersed across 340 MHz of the observed band. Image: Breakthrough Listen

But it wouldn’t be a mystery if there wasn’t a catch. FRBs, despite being absurdly bright and powerful, don’t seem to appear in patterns. They come from many different parts of the sky, but it seems that only two have ever come from the same source: FRB 121102, which may have come from a neutron star. The others appear almost randomly, making studying them difficult. On top of that, only 33 have ever been observed.

Could this be a case of interstellar language getting lost in translation? Well, it looks like FRBs will remain a mystery.

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Astronomers Telegram, New Scientist





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