Stunned astronomers have been left puzzled by an unexplained energy burst in a faraway galaxy.
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has picked up a rare fast energy burst or FRB that unusually travelled across several galaxies, which is what made it so spectacular and so unique.
The cause of an FRB is not clear, but it is thought that it could be a magnetised star. An FRB creates a bright flash of energy that can light up an entire galaxy for a few milliseconds.
Hundreds of FRBs have been detected over the last few years, but the source of them remains a mystery to astronomers. The reason experts are so baffled with this latest one is because the origin appears such a long way from where it ended up, which makes it the farthest and most powerful FRB on record.
FRBs have only been identified in individual galaxies, but the Hubble Telescope has shown that this one seems to have occurred across an incredible seven.
“It required Hubble’s keen sharpness and sensitivity to pinpoint exactly where the FRB came from,” said Alexa Gordon, lead author from Northwestern University in Illinois.
“Without Hubble’s imaging, it would still remain a mystery as to whether this was originating from one monolithic galaxy or from some type of interacting system. It’s these types of environments – these weird ones – that are driving us toward better understanding the mystery of FRBs.”
Wen-fai Fong, co-investigator from Northwestern University said they were working hard to try to find out exactly what caused FRBs and The Hubble observations provided excellent intel that allowed astronomers to study how these mysterious events occurred.