Arecibo Observatory Detects Mysterious, Energetic Radio Burst

A brief, blazing burst of radio waves detected by the >Arecibo Observatory could herald a turning of the tide for a peculiar class of cosmic signals. Until recently, the signals had only ever been detected by a telescope in Australia, a pattern that fueled doubts about their origin.

Fewer than a dozen of these bursts, lasting for only a few thousandths of a second, have ever been reported. Called “fast radio bursts,” the signals are cosmic enigmas that appear to come from the very, very distant universe. But since the first burst discovery in 2007, scientists have not only wondered what kind of cosmic object could ...

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