Fast radio bursts were detected from outside the Milky Way. Last week, researchers reported they had, for the first time, traced a one-and-done, non-repeating FRB back to its home , the second FRB ever to be tailed to its source. Less than a week later, a second team, using CalTech’s Owens Valley Radio Observatory (OVRO) near Bishop, California has announced they’ve traced a different non-repeating FRB to its home in a massive galaxy nearly 8 billion light-years away.
The new, non-repeating FRB is called FRB 190523. The burst did not repeat, they say, despite the fact that they watched it for a total of 78 hours spread out over the course of 54 days surrounding the single detection. The current prevailing theory is that FRBs are outbursts that occur on magnetars, which are a type of highly magnetized, rapidly spinning neutron star. Tracking an FRB back to its home galaxy requires instruments with high precision to decisively show which galaxy a burst might be coming from. As more and better radio instruments come online, astronomers are hopeful they’ll be able to spot , and track, more repeating and non-repeating FRBs to their sources. The mysterious signals traveled billions of years to reach us, so if the explanation is aliens, they’re some very ancient aliens.