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Australian Scientists Determines Precise Location of Cosmic Radio Waves

Having discovered that the burst originated on the outskirts of a Milky Way-sized galaxy 3.6 billion light years from Earth

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Australian, Scientists, Cosmic
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) on Friday revealed that it made the discovery using its new Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio telescope. Pixabay

In a first, a team of Australian scientists has determined the precise location of a powerful one-off burst of cosmic radio waves.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) on Friday revealed that it made the discovery using its new Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio telescope in Western Australia, Xinhua news agency reported.

Having discovered that the burst originated on the outskirts of a Milky Way-sized galaxy 3.6 billion light years from Earth, researchers were then able to image that galaxy using three of the world’s largest optical telescopes.

“This is the big breakthrough that the field has been waiting for since astronomers discovered fast radio bursts in 2007,” Keith Bannister, the lead author from the CSIRO, said in a media release.

Australian, Scientists, Cosmic
In a first, a team of Australian scientists has determined the precise location of a powerful one-off burst of cosmic radio waves. Pixabay

In the 12 years since the radio bursts were first detected scientists across the world have detected another 85 bursts, most of which were “one-offs”.

The source of one of the few “repeater” bursts was discovered in 2017 but localising a one-off burst has proved more challenging because they last for only a millisecond.

In order to make the discovery Bannister’s team developed technology that can freeze and save data detected by the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder less than a second after it is detected.

“From these tiny time differences, just a fraction of a billionth of a second, we identified the burst’s home galaxy and even its exact starting point, 13,000 light years out from the galaxy’s centre in the galactic suburbs,” said team member Adam Deller of Swinburne University of Technology in Australia.

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“It comes from a massive galaxy that is forming relatively few stars. This suggests that fast radio bursts can be produced in a variety of environments, or that the seemingly one-off bursts detected so far by ASKAP are generated by a different mechanism to the repeater.”

The results were published online in the journal Science. (IANS)

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Ice Deposits on Moon’s South Pole may have More than One Source: Research

 Scientists Report on the ages of Ice deposits in the area of the Moon's South Pole

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Moon's South Pole
Researchers have shed light on the ages of ice deposits reported in the area of the Moon's south pole. Pixabay

 Researchers have shed light on the ages of ice deposits reported in the area of the Moon’s south pole — information that could help identify the sources of the deposits and help in planning future human exploration.

The study published in the journal Icarus suggests that while a majority of those deposits are likely billions of years old, some may be much more recent.

“The ages of these deposits can potentially tell us something about the origin of the ice, which helps us understand the sources and distribution of water in the inner solar system,” said study lead author Ariel Deutsch from Brown University.

“For exploration purposes, we need to understand the lateral and vertical distributions of these deposits to figure out how best to access them. These distributions evolve with time, so having an idea of the age is important,” Deutsch said.

For the study, Deutsch worked with Professor Jim Head, and Gregory Neumann from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre.

moon Surface
The ages of these deposits on Moon’s Surface can potentially tell us something about the origin of the ice. Pixabay

Using data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been orbiting the Moon since 2009, the researchers looked at the ages of the large craters in which evidence of south pole ice deposits was found.

To date the craters, researchers count the number of smaller craters that have accrued inside the larger ones.

Scientists have an approximate idea of the pace of impacts over time, so counting craters can help establish the ages of terrains.

The majority of the reported ice deposits are found within large craters formed about 3.1 billion years ago or longer, the study found.

The deposits have a patchy distribution across crater floors, which suggests that the ice has been battered by micrometeorite impacts and other debris over a long period of time.

If those reported ice deposits are indeed ancient, that could have significant implications in terms of exploration and potential resource utilisation, the researchers said.

Lunar Surface
The study published in the journal Icarus suggests that while a majority of those deposits on Moon’s South Pole are likely billions of years old, some may be much more recent. Pixabay

While the majority of ice was in the ancient craters, the researchers also found evidence for ice in smaller craters that, judging by their sharp, well-defined features, appear to be quite fresh.

That suggests that some of the deposits on the south pole got there relatively recently.

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The best way to find out for sure is to send spacecraft to get some samples which event appears to be on the horizon. NASA’s Artemis programme aims to put humans on the Moon by 2024, and plans to fly numerous precursor missions with robotic spacecraft in the meantime, the researchers said. (IANS)