Andre Renard/CHIME

A new telescope in Canada has taken a major step toward unravelling the mystery of fast radio bursts (FRBs)—intense millisecond bursts of radio waves from distant galaxies. The researchers behind the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (shown above) reported on 9 August that they had detected eight new FRBs that flash repeatedly. Among the few dozen previously known FRBs, only two were repeaters—but these are key to figuring out their origin because astronomers can go back with more sensitive telescopes and observe them again. Just two FRBs have been traced to particular galaxies so far, but with eight more repeaters to work with, astronomers may soon know the sorts of galaxies they typically come from and maybe more about their local environments within the galaxies. That could help astronomers figure out what type of compact, high-energy object is producing the bursts.



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