User Tools

    To create and edit articles, please register and log-in

Main Menu : categories & index etc.

Main menu
Click categories to expand

A-Z listingplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigA-Z listing

This is an alphabetical index of all content pages.

Other categories



Also see

Importance Ratings
Curator's rationale
AI Policy

Twitter feed 𝕏

Feeds + s.e.o. etc.
rss / xml feed
sitemap file
A-Z listing (archived)

Indexed under : Physics / Cosmology

Wikenigma - an Encyclopedia of Unknowns Wikenigma - an Encyclopedia of the Unknown

Fast radio bursts

Lasting only a fraction of a second yet packing a phenomenal amount of energy, FRBs are brief radio flashes of unknown origin that appear to come from random directions on the sky. Though only a handful have been documented previously, astronomers believe that the observable Universe is rocked by thousands of these events each day.“

Source : National Radio Astronomy Observatory, US

The bursts typically last only a few milliseconds, are wideband (from MHz to GHz), sometimes polarised, and are thought to originate predominantly outside our galaxy. Possible explanations for their source include:

  • Collapsing black holes or neutron stars
  • Blitzars (a spinning pulsar rapidly collapses into a black hole)
  • Hyperflares of magnetars (a neutron star with an extremely powerful magnetic field)

However :

None of the models put forward seem perfectly adequate. Not one really explains all the observations.”

Source; PNAS 2017

More info Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy

Note: A new (2017) study from Harvard puts forward the imaginative idea that FRBs may be signs of Alien Civilisation's use of photon-drives to propel their spacecraft . . . though the authors end with the statement that the purpose of their paper includes “at the very least, the important purpose of enabling astronomers to rule it out” . . . See : Fast Radio Bursts from Extragalactic Light Sails

Update August 2017 :

Project Breakthrough Listen (UC Berkeley)

[…] has detected 15 fast radio bursts emanating from the mysterious 'repeater' FRB 121102.”


Also see Fast Blue Optical Transientsplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigFast Blue Optical Transients

Fast Blue Optical Transients (FBOTs) are a recently discovered (2014) class of transient astronomical objects. They have similarities with Gamma-ray bursts - but appear to be vastly more powerful.

A research team from Northwestern Universi…

    Please share this page to help promote Wikenigma !

Dear reader : Do you have any suggestions for the site's content?

Ideas for new topics, and suggested additions / corrections for older ones, are always welcome.

If you have skills or interests in a particular field, and have suggestions for Wikenigma, get in touch !

Or, if you'd like to become a regular contributor . . . request a login password. Registered users can edit the entire content of the site, and also create new pages.

( The 'Notes for contributors' section in the main menu has further information and guidelines etc.)

Automatic Translation

You are currently viewing an auto-translated version of Wikenigma

Please be aware that no automatic translation engines are 100% accurate, and so the auto-translated content will very probably feature errors and omissions.

Nevertheless, Wikenigma hopes that the translated content will help to attract a wider global audience.

Show another (random) article

Further resources :