Fast radio bursts

Fast radio bursts (FRBs) are very energetic and so far sporadic radio signals that are of unknown — but probably cosmological — origin. Only a few tens of FRBs have been detected since the first reported incidence in 2007. This Nature Astronomy Collection is based upon a Focus issue that was extremely timely: almost as many new FRB sources were reported in the ~12 weeks it took to write and edit the component articles as in the preceding 12 years.

Central to the Collection are a Perspective from Duncan Lorimer, one of the founders of the field, and a Review Article from Evan Keane, who looks towards a promising future. We also feature several Comments that address the key questions that are driving current research: what are the sources of FRBs? Is there more than one type of FRB? Are FRBs exclusively a radio phenomenon? How can we use FRBs as tools to probe the cosmos? What lessons can we learn from reflecting on the study of gamma-ray bursts? Finally, the Mission Control article showcases one of the facilities that is heralding an exciting second decade of FRB observations: the Australian SKA Pathfinder array.

Perspective and Review

Comments and opinions

Mission Control

Research Highlights