Astronomers find the first known regular pattern of fast radio bursts

Just what’s causing the bursts isn’t certain. The scientsists know that it’s coming from a “star-churning” area on the outskirts of a giant spiral galaxy, but not what it is. Neutron stars are believed to be a frequent source, but there are a number of possible explanations. They may be coming from a single star that’s both spinning and wobbling, a binary system with an eccentric orbit or a gas-emitting source whose output is magnified by a host star. Although magnetars are increasingly believed to be the cause of these bursts, there’s no guarantee one is involved here.

More study will be necessary to get better answers. Even so, this suggests that fast radio bursts are more complex than initially thought, and that there’s plenty of unusual behavior in the universe.

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