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Flash of luck: Astronomers find cosmic radio burst source

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This November 2016 photo provided by the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment collaboration shows the CHIME radio telescope at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory in Kaleden, British Columbia, Canada. On Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2020, astronomers say they used the instrument to trace an April 2020 fast cosmic radio burst to our own galaxy and a type of powerful energetic young star called a magnetar. The burst was also detected by a California doctoral student’s set of handmade antennas.

AP

A flash of luck helped astronomers solve a cosmic mystery: What causes powerful but fleeting radio bursts that zip and zigzag through the universe?

Scientists have known about these energetic pulses — called fast radio bursts — for about 13 years and have seen them coming from outside our galaxy, which makes it harder to trace them back to what’s causing them. Making it even harder is that they

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