For the first time, astronomers may have glimpsed a fast radio burst in the Milky Way. Even more interesting, the source of the super-bright pulse of radio waves appears to be a magnetar, a type of neutron star with a strong magnetic field (SN: 6/4/20). But it is too early to say that the magnetars caused the previously unrecognized dozens of fast radio bursts, as those flashes were eventually traced to a source far from the galaxies.
An illustration of a magnet – A bright radio burst generated by a magnetar (one illustrated) in the Milky Way suggests that these highly magnetic neutron stars may be responsible for other fast radio bursts previously observed. The tubes attached to the outer layers of hundreds of fossil brachiopods discovered in an outcrop in China may be the first known parasites. Clamal-like brachiopods lived about 512 million years ago.
The researchers speculate that the organisms living inside the tubes removed food from their filter-feeding host. The fact that the tubes have never been found alone or on other fossils indicates that the organisms cannot survive on their own. But some critics question whether the ties were actually parasites, noting that the upturned brachiopods were no worse than their tubeless counterparts.
illustration of an ancient creature – The earliest known examples of parasites may be ancient creatures that lived in tubes attached to clam-like brachiopods (pictured). Only about half the expected amount of normal matter in the universe has been cataloged. But this year, astronomers claimed that the other half is hidden in space.
This conclusion is based on an analysis of how a small sample of fast radio bursts from other galaxies were distorted by particles on their way to Earth. However, before closing the case on the missing case, more of these bright bursts of radio waves should be investigated. Observations of brief, bright flashes of radio waves from other galaxies detected by the Australian Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder (pictured) reveal that all the normal “lost” matter in the universe is hidden in intergalactic space.
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