New fast radio burst discovery finds 'missing matter' in the universe

February 24, 2016
New fast radio burst discovery finds 'missing matter' in the universe
This image shows the field of view of the Parkes radio telescope on the left. On the right are successive zoom-ins in on the area where the signal came from (cyan circular region). The image at the bottom right shows the Subaru image of the FRB galaxy, with the superimposed elliptical regions showing the location of the fading 6-day afterglow seen with ATCA. Image Credit: D. Kaplan (UWM), E. F. Keane (SKAO).

An international team of scientists using a combination of radio and optical telescopes has for the first time managed to identify the location of a fast radio burst, allowing them to confirm the current cosmological model of the distribution of matter in the universe.

On April 18, 2015, a fast radio burst (FRB) was detected by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)'s 64-m Parkes radio telescope in Australia. An international alert was triggered to follow it up with other telescopes and within a few hours, a number of telescopes around the world were looking for the signal, including CSIRO's Australian Telescope Compact Array (ATCA).

FRBs are mysterious bright radio flashes generally lasting only a few milliseconds. Their origin is still unknown, with a long list of potential phenomena associated with them. FRBs are very difficult to detect; before this discovery only 16 had been detected.

"In the past FRBs have been found by sifting through data months or even years later. By that time it is too late to do follow up observations." says Dr Evan Keane, Project Scientist at the Square Kilometre Array Organisation and the lead scientist behind the study. To remedy this, the team developed their own observing system to detect FRBs within seconds, and to immediately alert other telescopes, when there is still time to search for more evidence in the aftermath of the initial flash.

New fast radio burst discovery finds 'missing matter' in the universe
This image shows the increased delay in the arrival time of the Fast Radio Burst as a function of the frequency. The delay in the signal is caused by the material it goes through between its point of origin and Earth. Image Credit: E. F. Keane (SKAO).

Thanks to the ATCA's six 22-m dishes and their combined resolution, the team was able to pinpoint the location of the signal with much greater accuracy than has been possible in the past and detected a radio afterglow that lasted for around 6 days before fading away. This afterglow enabled them to pinpoint the location of the FRB about 1000 times more precisely than for previous events.

"The key to this project was the rapid localisation of the FRB and identifying the host galaxy" said Benjamin Stappers, Professor of Astrophysics at The University of Manchester. "Discovering more FRBs will allow us to do even more detailed studies of the missing matter and perhaps even study . To do this, we are starting projects with arrays of telescopes like eMerlin and MeerKAT, which will allow us to have a localisation directly from the burst itself."

The team then used the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ)'s 8.2-m Subaru optical telescope in Hawaii to look at where the signal came from, and identified an elliptical galaxy some 6 billion light years away. "It's the first time we've been able to identify the of an FRB" added Dr Keane. The optical observation also gave them the redshift measurement (the speed at which the galaxy is moving away from us due to the accelerated expansion of the universe), the first time a distance has been determined for an FRB.

FRBs show a frequency-dependent dispersion, a delay in the radio signal caused by how much material it has gone through. "Until now, the dispersion measure is all we had. By also having a distance we can now measure how dense the material is between the point of origin and Earth, and compare that with the current model of the distribution of matter in the universe" explains Dr Simon Johnston, co-author of the study, from CSIRO's Astronomy and Space Science division. "Essentially this lets us weigh the universe, or at least the normal matter it contains."

In the current model, the universe is believed to be made of 70% dark energy, 25% dark matter and 5% 'ordinary' matter, the matter that makes everything we see. However, through observations of stars, galaxies and hydrogen, astronomers have only been able to account for about half of the ordinary matter, the rest could not be seen directly and so has been referred to as 'missing'.

"The good news is our observations and the model match, we have found the missing matter" explained Dr Keane. "It's the first time a fast radio burst has been used to conduct a cosmological measurement."

Looking forward, the Square Kilometre Array, with its extreme sensitivity, resolution and wide field of view is expected to be able to detect hundreds of FRBs and to pinpoint their host galaxies. A much larger sample will enable precision measurements of cosmological parameters such as the distribution of in the universe, and provide a refined understanding of dark energy.

The study is published today in Nature.

Explore further: Could fast radio bursts be produced by collisions between neutron stars and asteroids?

More information: Nature, DOI: 10.1038/nature17140

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43 comments

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gkam
2.1 / 5 (15) Feb 24, 2016
It will be interesting to see if the numbers match up with our guesses.
shavera
4.7 / 5 (23) Feb 24, 2016
gkam, that's *literally* the point of the article:
"The good news is our observations and the model match, we have found the missing matter"


We have models that proposed a value for 'normal matter' in the universe, and this measurement matches those models.
Thirteenth Doctor
3.5 / 5 (13) Feb 24, 2016
gkam, that's *literally* the point of the article:


He thought he was being clever. He's of the "mainstream science is wrong and hindering me" sort that seems to linger here.
gkam
3 / 5 (14) Feb 24, 2016
No, 13, I am not. I earned degrees in "mainstream science".

I wanted to know if the discovery agreed with the other information we gleaned form other sources. It is a good factor in determining validity.

Where do we get these folk making personal attacks? From what profession? It cannot be science.
bschott
2.3 / 5 (18) Feb 24, 2016
gkam, that's *literally* the point of the article:


He thought he was being clever. He's of the "mainstream science is wrong and hindering me" sort that seems to linger here.


We come here for the comedy relief. Example:

In the current model, the universe is believed to be made of 70% dark energy, 25% dark matter and 5% 'ordinary' matter


LMAO!!!
Phys1
3.1 / 5 (15) Feb 24, 2016
@bs
Your country's encyclopedia of humour must be flimsy.
marcush
3.3 / 5 (12) Feb 24, 2016
I guess some people laugh at anything.
Thirteenth Doctor
3 / 5 (14) Feb 24, 2016
Where do we get these folk making personal attacks? From what profession? It cannot be science.


Wasn't a personal attack, just a valid observation.

We come here for the comedy relief. Example:


The institution is against you too? You know who was real funny was that JVK character. Where did he go? now HE was clever.
Phys1
2.2 / 5 (10) Feb 24, 2016
gkam, that's *literally* the point of the article:


He thought he was being clever. He's of the "mainstream science is wrong and hindering me" sort that seems to linger here.

I can not confirm that.
Uncle Ira
3.8 / 5 (13) Feb 24, 2016
You know who was real funny was that JVK character.
He was a hoot some days.

Where did he go?
The nice peoples at the physorg were getting a little stressed and over-worked because he was using Google-Skippy/physorg/interweb to make it look like his was the most "cited" scientist in all of the science world. It was bad for potential advertisers.

now HE was clever.
You are too easy to amuse Cher.
Thirteenth Doctor
3.2 / 5 (13) Feb 24, 2016
He was a hoot some days.


I didnt think being a "science idiot" would give me so much pride.

The nice peoples at the physorg were getting a little stressed and over-worked because he was using Google-Skippy/physorg/interweb to make it look like his was the most "cited" scientist in all of the science world. It was bad for potential advertisers.


Bittersweet. I did a paper on him and his comments for my Psych class with the topic of Narcissism and Delusions couple years back.

You are too easy to amuse Cher.


My girlfriend doesnt think so. I never laugh at her jokes.

Back to work I go.
Captain Stumpy
2.3 / 5 (9) Feb 24, 2016
I did a paper on him and his comments for my Psych class with the topic of Narcissism and Delusions couple years back
@Thirteenth Doctor
i would LOVE to read that paper. i was always fascinated with his thought process
... if you could contact me at either SciForums, Sapo's Joint (both sites- Truck Captain Stumpy) or by e-mail, i would appreciate it
My girlfriend doesnt think so. I never laugh at her jokes
the art of deadpan
i was always a fan of Steven Wright and British humour myself
bschott
2.2 / 5 (17) Feb 24, 2016
@bs
Your country's encyclopedia of humour must be flimsy.


It's actually quite extensive. But Mainstream theoretical astrophysics and the accompanying math make up half of the largest section titled "humerously absurd".

Your posts make up a small portion at the back titled "funny if you have the time".
Shootist
1.9 / 5 (9) Feb 24, 2016
gkam, that's *literally* the point of the article:


He thought he was being clever. He's of the "mainstream science is wrong and hindering me" sort that seems to linger here.


No he isn't.
obama_socks
1.4 / 5 (10) Feb 24, 2016
gkam, that's *literally* the point of the article:


He thought he was being clever. He's of the "mainstream science is wrong and hindering me" sort that seems to linger here.


No he isn't.
- Shootist

I definitely agree that he isn't.
philstacy9
1 / 5 (16) Feb 25, 2016
This type of science research is a waste of money and should be curtailed. Science funding should be exclusively for climate change research because, as 99% of scientists agree, climate change is going to exterminate humans erasing all science knowledge forever.
IronhorseA
3 / 5 (4) Feb 25, 2016
@bs
Your country's encyclopedia of humour must be flimsy.


It's actually quite extensive. But Mainstream theoretical astrophysics and the accompanying math make up half of the largest section titled "humerously absurd".

Your posts make up a small portion at the back titled "funny if you have the time".


The Black Humor section must be enormous, what with all the 'holy books' taking up it's space.
Phys1
3 / 5 (8) Feb 25, 2016
This type of science research is a waste of money and should be curtailed. Science funding should be exclusively for climate change research because, as 99% of scientists agree, climate change is going to exterminate humans erasing all science knowledge forever.

Just admit to yourself that science is above your head and let go.
Phys1
3 / 5 (8) Feb 25, 2016
@bs
Your country's encyclopedia of humour must be flimsy.


It's actually quite extensive.

That is because you have no sense of humour.
Phys1
2.7 / 5 (7) Feb 25, 2016

We come here for the comedy relief.

You and your sock puppets ?
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (9) Feb 25, 2016
The key word is "MISSING matter", not dark matter.
Benni
1.8 / 5 (16) Feb 25, 2016
Just admit to yourself that science is above your head and let go.


......I can do Differential Equations.......from all appearances you can't you even do Trigonometry which is the reason you never made it beyond 1st semester Physics, hence your Phys 1 sign-on handle, a form of comic relief in itself.
bschott
2.1 / 5 (14) Feb 25, 2016
@bs
Your country's encyclopedia of humour must be flimsy.


It's actually quite extensive.

That is because you have no sense of humour.


Good to see you still keep your glue beside your computer....


We come here for the comedy relief.

You and your sock puppets ?


We who understand physics from a real physics perspective, as opposed to a theoretical math perspective.

What you support should be called theatrical astrophysics.
Thirteenth Doctor
3.7 / 5 (6) Feb 25, 2016

i would LOVE to read that paper. i was always fascinated with his thought process
... if you could contact me at either SciForums, Sapo's Joint (both sites- Truck Captain Stumpy) or by e-mail, i would appreciate it


I'll have to dust off the old computer and see if it's still there. Let you know!
gkam
1.6 / 5 (7) Feb 25, 2016
Benni says he can do differential equations. Okay, what have you done with them?
Whydening Gyre
4.6 / 5 (9) Feb 25, 2016
Just admit to yourself that science is above your head and let go.


......I can do Differential Equations.......from all appearances you can't you even do Trigonometry which is the reason you never made it beyond 1st semester Physics, hence your Phys 1 sign-on handle, a form of comic relief in itself.

Sheesh, Benni... Not a very quality entry into the discussion...
Whydening Gyre
4.1 / 5 (9) Feb 25, 2016
Benni says he can do differential equations. Okay, what have you done with them?

He plays "dress-up" with them?
Actually, HIS Differential equations are pretty numbers using different color crayons or water colors... Hey, they're each different, so...
Maybe he has his Mom tape them to the refrigerator...
Phys1
3.2 / 5 (9) Feb 25, 2016

We who understand physics from a real physics perspective, as opposed to a theoretical math perspective.

How many sock puppets are we talking about ?
What you support should be called theatrical astrophysics.

You say they are wrong but you can not prove them wrong.
That is the fundamental reason why you are disrespected.
Your language is revolting but that could be Tourette.
Benni
1.9 / 5 (14) Feb 25, 2016
How many sock puppets are we talking about ?


What you support should be called theatrical astrophysics.


You say they are wrong but you can not prove them wrong.
That is the fundamental reason why you are disrespected.
Your language is revolting but that could be Tourette.


As you continue your incessant whining about the content others post, why don't you first take a Physics 1 course, and get a passing grade. Your buffoonery attempts at trying to be a PHYSICIST is so cumbersome, it makes those of us who have the passing grades laugh at your every post.
Phys1
3.4 / 5 (10) Feb 25, 2016
Apparently Benni and philstacy9 are the same. Time for an update.
___
There is absolutely no point in feeding the following
pariahs: bschott
psychos: Benni== philstacy9 ichisan rodkeh
political agitators: obama_socks
delusionists: viko_mx DavidW BartV FredJose LifeBasedLogic BEGINNING
trolls: promile plasmasrevenge cantdrive45 liquidspacetime kaiserderden antigoracle Seeker2 swordsman bluehigh baudrunner Solon hyperfuzzy julianpenrod emaalouf theprocessionist wduckss Old_C_Code Bigbangcon katesisco jimbraumcos indio007 Reg Mundy vidyunmaya Osiris1 mememine69 betterexists
This list is updated continuously.
Captain Stumpy
3.2 / 5 (9) Feb 25, 2016
......I can do Differential Equations......why don't you first take a Physics 1 course...t makes those of us who have the passing grades laugh
lets see what passing grades means to benni-kam

start with ODE'S
no evidence that she can do them, let alone explain what they are
http://phys.org/n...ood.html

basic math then!
the wobble cycle of Earth's rotational axis seems to correlate closely with the time required for our solar system to complete a full orbital passage around the galactic core of the Milky Way
http://phys.org/n...als.html

another failure

why does she think she has "passing grades" with the above evidence?
what constitutes "passing grades" in her world? showing up on time?

Hmmm... perhaps THIS can answer the question
(thanks Runrig and potholer54)

https://www.youtu...dYvz0VwQ
Benni
1.8 / 5 (10) Feb 25, 2016
Apparently Benni and philstacy9 are the same. Time for an update.


lets see what passing grades means to benni-kam start with ODE'S


Two Physorg bound pseudo-physicists who need a place to live all day long to share tales of Funny Farm Science with one another.
Captain Stumpy
2.8 / 5 (9) Feb 25, 2016
Two Physorg bound pseudo-physicists who need a place to live all day long to share tales of Funny Farm Science with one another.
yeah... i can see why you would be upset and lash out like that when you were just proven to be completely incompetent in math...

especially as it is your primary argument

i mean... if i told people i was 7foot tall and then i was seen in public being only 5'6"... that would be embarrassing. but at least only for a short time (short joke, get it?)

you post on the world wide web, where nothing dies and history will always catch up to you, about your mathematical prowess but get caught being incapable of doing basic math!
and not knowing what an ODE was!
(differential equations 101... and you didn't catch it! but you are a NOOclear engineer, like liar-kam!)

yeah... i can see why you are so acerbic

you got owned by a mere layman, an artist and a cajun!
LMFAO
gkam
2.6 / 5 (9) Feb 26, 2016
Hey,Stumpy, why are you turning into otto? Look at your hateful and malicious posts.

Please put it away. You are not the cop on this forum.
Benni
2 / 5 (12) Feb 26, 2016
Hey,Stumpy, why are you turning into otto? Look at your hateful and malicious posts.

Please put it away. You are not the cop on this forum.


The problem is his inability to compete in the arena of ideas with those far better educated. When he's challenged on his background he goes into uncontollable rage, that's what you see above. I wonder how many times he's been married & divorced due to his uncontrollable rage personality.
hammer34
4 / 5 (1) Feb 27, 2016
Do ALL radio bursts to date have the dispersion frequency as 187.5, or are there some that do
not possess this magic number. There are articles in major science journals that indicate all dispersion signals are multiples of 187,5. It could be the golden ratio hidden in the dispersion signal multiple. To be clearer, 187.5 rounded to 188 nearest integer in decimal system is 161 in base 11. 187.5 rounded to 188(integer) in another base - base 11, is 161, or phi, the golden ratio 1.61(times 100)! ? But all said, do all Fast Radio Burst signals have dispersion signals as multiples of 187.5?
chileastro
3.2 / 5 (9) Feb 27, 2016
bschitt 1.6 /5 (15) Feb 24, 2016

We come here for the comedy relief.


When that fascist Trump gets elected as POTUS based on people who have their own set of facts, I guess you'll laugh your fool ass off
jim_xanara
2.5 / 5 (8) Feb 27, 2016
Most people hear "fascist" and think Nazis without realizing that Mussolini invented it, so I think CA is right. Mussolini called it the union of corporate and state interests. He ran on making Italy great again. He had his own set of facts that the black shirts wanted to believe. Early on many prominent Jews were fascists, before Hitler pressured him into dropping them. Someone needs to do a side-by-side comparison of some of Mussolini's poses and Trumps. They're identical. The Don and The Duce are pretty much identical.
OdinsAcolyte
4 / 5 (1) Feb 29, 2016
How does the FRB find the missing matter?
Does the dispersion of the signal indicate the amount of matter the signal passes through?

"Those who increase knowledge increase misery."
I am miserable.
Vietvet
2 / 5 (8) Feb 29, 2016
@jimthe antisemitic shithead

Your comment could have rated a"5" but you couldn't resist throwing in a Jewish reference.
Phys1
3.7 / 5 (6) Feb 29, 2016
How does the FRB find the missing matter?
Does the dispersion of the signal indicate the amount of matter the signal passes through?

Yes.
bschott
2 / 5 (4) Feb 29, 2016
You say they are wrong but you can not prove them wrong.


Reality does it every day, I just watch and make trolling remarks to bait you into posting so I can laugh at what you say while trying to defend the science of the invisible, by claiming it's there and you can see it with math.

That is the fundamental reason why you are disrespected.


Well, that and I really don't give shit about the opinions of the delusional, and I make no bones about precisely who is delusional...as in, if you believe most of the universe is invisible and powered by energy that is undetectable through measurement, you are delusional.

Your language is revolting but that could be Tourette.


The english language is revolting? Do tell....

Tourette is french though, just so you know. I have seen first hand that you struggle with really simple things so I best not take anything for granted.
Phys1
3 / 5 (2) Mar 01, 2016
You say they are wrong but you can not prove them wrong.


Reality does it every day,

Lame talk. You know nothing and have no skills.
I just watch and make trolling remarks

A troll you are.

That is the fundamental reason why you are disrespected.


Well, that and I really don't give shit
But you do! You are full of it.

Your language is revolting but that could be Tourette.

Tourette is french though,

Tourette is short for Tourette Disorder. It is an international word.
No one thinks of a little tower when you say it except a French person.
https://en.wikipe...syndrome

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