Tag Archives: mysterious

Mysterious 'Fast Radio Burst' Traced Back to Its Home Galaxy for First Time Ever

Mysterious 'Fast Radio Burst' Traced Back to Its Home Galaxy for First Time EverThree and a half billion years ago, a mysterious object on the edge of a distant galaxy spewed forth an intensely bright, vanishingly brief burst of radio energy that shot across the universe.That pulse of energy — known to its fans in the astronomy community as a fast radio burst (FRB) — passed through a wilderness of gas, dust and empty space on its multi-billion-year journey, slowly stretching and changing color as it moved. Then, for less than a millisecond in 2018, that burst zapped past a special telescope in Earth's Australian outback, giving scientists a rare opportunity to shake hands with one of the most mysterious forms of energy in the universe.It's the first time that astronomers have successfully tracked a one-off FRB back to its origins across space and time, according to the authors of a study published today (June 27) in the journal Science. Understanding where FRBs come from allows scientists to probe the vast tracts of matter between their host galaxies and Earth, and maybe even locate undiscovered pockets of protons and neutrons thought to be lurking between galaxies.[The 12 Strangest Objects in the Universe]"These bursts are altered by the matter they encounter in space," study co-author Jean-Pierre Macquart, a researcher at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) said in a statement. "Now we can pinpoint where they come from, we can use them to measure the amount of matter in intergalactic space." Antennas of CSIRO’s Australian SKA Pathfinder with the Milky Way overhead. Alex Cherney/CSIRO Bursting onto the sceneSince the phenomenon was discovered in 2007, astronomers have observed about 85 FRBs and pinpointed the origins of only one other — a repeating flash that pulsed 9 times from a tiny, star-forming galaxy over about six months in 2016. Pinpointing the source of a one-off FRB, which can last for a fraction of a millisecond, has proved exceedingly difficult, until now.In their new study, the researchers detected the lone FRB using an array of 36 satellites called the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) telescope. When an FRB passes the array, each satellite picks up the burst's signal a fraction of a millisecond apart. Using these subtle time differences, the researchers were able to figure out which direction the burst came from, and approximately how far it traveled.The ASKAP observations pointed to a Milky-Way-size galaxy about 3.6 billion light-years away from Earth. With some help from several other large telescopes around the world, the researchers zoomed in on this galaxy to learn that it was relatively old and not forming many new stars.According Adam Deller, an astrophysicist at Swinburne University of Technology in Australia and co-author of the new study, the properties of this distant galaxy sit in stark contrast to the galaxy that created a repeating fast-radio burst that was detected in 2016."The burst we localized and its host galaxy look nothing like the 'repeater' and its host," Deller said in the statement. "It comes from a massive galaxy that is forming relatively few stars. This suggests that fast radio bursts can be produced in a variety of environments."While the repeating FRB detected a few years ago was likely created by a neutron star or supernova explosion (common engines of star formation in active galaxies), this individual burst could have been caused by something else entirely, the researchers wrote.What else, exactly? Nobody knows yet — but radioactive belches from supermassive black holes or the engines of alien spacecraft have not been ruled out. Only by pinpointing more FRBs will researchers be able to unravel this cosmic mystery. Fortunately, the authors of the new study wrote, now that they've got one under their belt, finding the next one should be a little easier. * 15 Amazing Images of Stars * 9 Strange, Scientific Excuses for Why Humans Haven't Found Aliens … * The Biggest Unsolved Mysteries in PhysicsOriginally published on Live Science.



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Mysterious tale of Paul Whelan, American man accused of spying in Russia, steeped in contradictions

Mysterious tale of Paul Whelan, American man accused of spying in Russia, steeped in contradictionsPaul Whelan's arrest in Russia and claims of espionage have birthed speculation about his past, but also America's complex relationship with Russia.



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Mysterious deep space world Ultima Thule already looks weird — and we've only had a glimpse

Mysterious deep space world Ultima Thule already looks weird — and we've only had a glimpseUltima Thule — an uncharted world over 4 billion miles away — is coming into view. On Monday, planetary scientists released a fuzzy image of Ultima Thule, snapped the day prior by the New Horizons exploration spacecraft from some 1.2 million miles away. Previously, New Horizons swooped by Pluto in 2015, capturing the icy, mountainous world in unprecedented detail. Increasingly rich, detailed images of Ultima will start arriving on January 2, but already the deep space object looks elongated, not round, said New Horizons deputy project scientist John Spencer from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, the Maryland headquarters of the New Horizons program. The program is a collaborative effort between NASA, the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), and the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, where scientists navigate and control the spacecraft. "It’s the first glimpse of what's going to get rapidly better from here on — it’s our first taste," Spencer said.  Ultima Thule as an elongated blob.Image: JHuAPL/NasaWhether Ultima's surface is heavily cratered and if it has a rich surface geology — like that of Pluto — remains to be seen.  "Anything is possible out there in this very unknown region," he said.  Ultima lies 1 billion miles beyond Pluto, in a ring of icy worlds known as the Kuiper Belt. Planetary scientists believe the objects out there have been frozen in time for some 4 billion years — preserving what happened during our solar system's early formation, long ago. SEE ALSO: How NASA recorded the eerie Martian wind, without a microphone "The Kuiper Belt is just a scientific wonderland,” Alan Stern, principal investigator of the New Horizons mission, said on Sunday.  “We've never, in the history of spaceflight, gone to a target that we know less about," Stern added. Already, Ultima has proven mysterious. As New Horizons travels closer to the object, the pattern of light reflecting off of Ultima, or its light curve, is inconsistent. With most other objects, these light patterns repeat as the objects spin.  An artist's conception of what Ultima Thule might look like.Image: nasa"It's really a puzzle," said Stern in a statement last week. But much of Ultima's mystery will diminish in the next few days. Just 33 minutes into the new year local time, New Horizon's will swoop some 2,200 miles above Ultima, capturing detailed snapshots of the uncharted world. But because Ultima is so far away, these rich images won't be immediately available. The data will be transmitted back to Earth, and on January 2 the first detailed snapshots will emerge of this elongated, though still largely mysterious, object. Ultima will soon become the most distant world humanity has ever visited. WATCH: Ever wonder how the universe might end?



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Russia says the mysterious hole in its Soyuz rocket may have been sabotage

Russia says the mysterious hole in its Soyuz rocket may have been sabotageWe already knew that Russia was in the midst of an incredibly deep investigation into the origins of a strange hole that was found in a part of its Soyuz space vehicle earlier this year. The part of the ship that was damaged is no more — it was jettisoned during reentry and burned up — but samples taken from the damaged area are now being studied by Russian authorities as they try to explain how such a thing happened.

Sergei Prokopyev, one of the cosmonauts that rode back down to Earth last week aboard the Soyuz craft, told reporters at a new conference that the investigation is still ongoing. Samples gathered during a recent spacewalk should hopefully be the final piece to whatever puzzle officials are trying to piece together.

Russia's handling of the investigation has the full support of NASA, but it's worth noting that the country's messaging hasn't exactly been consistent in the days, weeks, and months following the discovery of the hole.

Initially thought to be damage sustained by a tiny space rock, once the hole was determined to be manmade a whole lot of finger pointing ensued. Russia's Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin seeded the idea that the hole was created while the spacecraft was docked to the ISS, hinting that it might have been the work of someone on board.

Those theories were squashed rather quickly and, in the days after the crew found the leak, word out of Russia suggested a culprit may have already been found. Those unofficial threads never materialized into anything more concrete, and we've now been waiting months for Russia to announce what it has found during the lengthy investigation.

Russia's early assertion that the hole was some kind of sabotage, perhaps during the manufacturing process, is an incredibly serious allegation. It's unclear what punishment one or more individuals might face if the country determines that someone intentionally tried to harm its cosmonaut crew (not to mention NASA astronauts), but now that ship itself is back on solid ground we might learn more before long.



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Mueller says Michael Flynn provided 'substantial assistance' to the Russia probe and a mysterious separate criminal investigation

Mueller says Michael Flynn provided 'substantial assistance' to the Russia probe and a mysterious separate criminal investigationThe memo did not divulge any details about a second criminal investigation Mueller is working on, and it hinted about a possible third.



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Microwave Weapons Could Be The Culprit Behind The Mysterious U.S. Embassy Attacks

Microwave Weapons Could Be The Culprit Behind The Mysterious U.S. Embassy AttacksA variety of possible causes — from sonic attacks to crickets to mass hysteria — have been considered, but no culprit has been identified.



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Texas police search for woman seen in mysterious doorbell video 

Texas police search for woman seen in mysterious doorbell video Authorities in Texas are trying to find a woman who was captured on video ringing a doorbell in the middle of the night. It happened early Friday in Montgomery when a concerned resident shared the video with the sheriff's office. The video, taken on a home CCTV camera shows a barefoot young woman wearing a T-shirt and what could be broken restraints around her wrists. The woman was gone before the resident got to the door. The resident reviewed the security footage and sent it to police. The sheriff's office says it has received numerous reports that the woman is a missing person.  However, authorities have not verified that.   The incident which police are calling "suspicious" occurred at around 3.20am in Sunrise Ranch, 60 miles north of Houston. An unnamed neighbour told ABC News the same woman rang the doorbells of other homes in the area, but had also vanished by the time anyone answered. Authorities have conducted a door-to-door search of local homes and businesses and circulated images of the woman on social media.



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Sightings, satellites help track mysterious ocean giant

Sightings, satellites help track mysterious ocean giantThe sight of a basking shark’s brooding silhouette gliding through the waters off western France is more than just a rare treat for sailors — it is a boon for scientists trying to trace its secretive migrations across the globe. It may be the world’s second largest fish, growing to more than 10 metres (35 feet), but the basking shark, or Cetorhinus maximus, is an enigma for scientists eager to help preserve the plankton-eating giant after centuries of overfishing. Hunted voraciously for its massive fin — highly prized for sharks’ fin soup in China — as well as its oily liver and meat, global populations of basking shark declined precipitously during the 20th century.



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California Dad's Mysterious Death Brings More Unsolved Shootings To Light

California Dad's Mysterious Death Brings More Unsolved Shootings To LightThe campground at California's Malibu Creek State Park has been "closed



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Elon Musk Claims His Mysterious Cyborg Dragon Tesla Is “Almost Done”

Elon Musk Claims His Mysterious Cyborg Dragon Tesla Is “Almost Done”We're not quite sure what to make of this one.



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