observatory watches as signal from space spirals into large dish

Repeating fast radio burst with weird magnetic field challenges magnetar explanation

A repeating fast radio burst (FRB) with a changeable, polarized magnetic field has deepened the mystery of what produces these enigmatic millisecond-long bursts of radio waves from deep space.

Since their discovery in 2007, FRBs have been one of the most enduring mysteries astrophysics. They are extremely powerful, emitting as much energy in a fraction of a second as the Sun pumps out in three days. Some FRBs release a single burst and then are silent, while others repeat. Most come from distant galaxies, although one FRB has been discovered in our galaxy.

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