Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • NEWS

Telescope spots enigmatic fast radio burst

Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment

Credit: CHIME Collaboration

A radio telescope, inaugurated last year, has detected its first fast radio burst (FRB), giving astronomers a powerful weapon for studying these mysterious events.

The 2-millisecond-long signal, announced on 1 August, heralds an expected deluge for the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME): once fully operational, CHIME should record more than a dozen FRBs per day. Astrophysicists have proposed a number of explanations for these events — which are fast bursts of radio energy — from evaporating black holes to erupting neutron stars, but data have been scarce so far.

CHIME consists of 4 reflectors shaped like half-pipes, each 100 metres long. Its primary science goal is to map the density of interstellar hydrogen across the Universe in the epoch between 10 billion and 8 billion years ago.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-018-05908-1

Subjects

Nature Careers

Jobs

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing

Search

Quick links