'Fast radio burst' originates from strange 'magnetar'
A mysterious "fast radio burst" or FRB was recently detected originating from within our own galaxy-- the first time one of these anomalous signals came from our home turf, so to speak. A dead star, known as a magnetar, suddenly launched a potent burst of X-ray and radio waves that swept over the Earth back in April. The powerful emission, from about 30,000 light years away in the constellation Vulpecula, triggered alarms in various observatories, even though it was gone in less than half-a-second.
Speculation about what may be behind the enigmatic phenomenon of FRBs has ranged from colliding black holes to flashes of cosmic light that power interstellar spaceships. But in a just published report about this latest FRB, the authors suggest that other FRBs may be associated with magnetars as well. A magnetar is a type of neutron star (the fast-spinning core of a dead star) that possesses an extremely intense magnetic field long after the star is dead. More details at Live Science. Pictured above is an artist's impression of a magnetar launching an FRB across the Milky Way.