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New theory explains powerful radio bursts

Dutch scientists have developed a new theory to explain radio flashes. Sometimes we notice these flashes, they are very strong but their source is unknown.

New theory explains powerful radio bursts

The prevailing theory was that short flashes of radiation were caused by objects orbiting the universe. Radiation from an object will always be temporarily blocked by the matter around another star or black hole.

By connecting Westerbork’s radio telescopes and another radio telescope, LOFAR, the ASTRON researcher can get a much better image of the flashes to date.

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In order to be able to research the huge amounts of data generated by the two telescopes, Dutch scientists first built a self-learning supercomputer.

The results show that the interpretation of orbiting objects cannot be correct. The data shows the exact opposite of what was expected. Researcher Joeri van Leeuwen (UvA) says the most likely explanation for the flashes is a very compact supermagnetic neutron star, called a magnetar.

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