An artist’s impression shows CSIRO’s Australian Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder radio telescope finding a fast radio burst. AFP
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An Australian-led team of international astronomers have determined for the first time the precise source of a powerful, one-off burst of cosmic radio waves.LIVE REPLAYIn 2017, astronomers were able to trace the source of a repeating burst, but locating a one-off FRB presented a much more difficult challenge.While the previously localized FRB 121102 was found to emanate from a dwarf galaxy that was actively forming young stars, the new FRB comes from the outskirts of a massive galaxy with old stars, suggesting a completely different engine is responsible for its creation.SPACEThe new finding is also exciting for another reason: It could help astronomers probe what lies in the vast spaces between galaxies and bring us a step closer to resolving the "missing matter" problem.Theoretical calculations have suggested there should be twice the number of atoms that can be seen in the stars, which led astronomers to theorize they must be contained in ionized gases in the vast spaces that separate galaxies.
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