Radio signals from distant galaxies turned out to be echoes of powerful explosions: scientists have solved the mystery

Dmytro IvancheskulLife
Magnetars may have the strongest magnetic fields in the entire universe. Source: Ruunosuke Takeshige/Universe Today/OBOZREVATEL collage

Fast radio bursts (or radio signals) from distant galaxies that have been puzzling scientists for years turned out to be the result of powerful explosions. Coincidence helped solve the mystery.

As Universe Today reports, astronomers were able to link two unrelated phenomena: a fast radio burst and a change in the speed of the rotating magnetar.

The origin of fast radio bursts, which are bursts of radio energy that last less than a second, has puzzled scientists for years. It was obvious that they were some incredibly energetic event since they were detected in distant galaxies. However, establishing their true origin didn't seem realistic since no such fast radio bursts had ever been detected within our galaxy.

However, a coincidence of circumstances helped scientists to find the culprits of the incident. Researchers managed to record a fast radio burst and magnetar failure simultaneously.

Magnetars are a special kind of pulsars, in which neutron stars rotate rapidly. The space object got its name because young neutron stars can have the strongest in the entire universe.

Magnetars rotate at a very precise speed, which, however, can change suddenly, slowing down or increasing. One of these variations in velocity was recorded around the same time that the fast burst was generated.

However, the problem in establishing exactly why both phenomena occur still had to be solved. It turned out that the primary source of this are asteroids. These are thought to be common around magnetars, which are the remnants of giant stars.

In a scenario calculated by the researchers, an asteroid may sometimes fly too close to its magnetar and get trapped by the powerful gravitational force As a result, the asteroid can be torn apart and its destruction, depending on the circumstances, either speeds up the magnetar or slows it down.

The asteroid's debris is caught in extremely strong magnetic fields that cause chaos, making the magnetic fields weave together and then release the stored energy in a rapid burst.

Scientists note that this scenario is quite plausible and shows that even small solar system objects such as asteroids can lead to very strong collisions and explosions.

Earlier OBOZREVATEL also told about the fact that NASA recorded a superpower explosion that shook the entire space.

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