NEWS BRIEFING: Aussie telescope finds 20 new mysterious radio signals from deep space

Embargoed until: Publicly released:

*BRIEFING RECORDING NOW AVAILABLE* Australian researchers using a CSIRO telescope in Western Australia have detected 20 mysterious radio signals known as 'fast radio bursts' in a year - almost double the number of unique signals detected worldwide since they were discovered in 2007. The team also found the closest and brightest fast radio bursts ever detected. Scientists don’t know what causes these mysterious radio waves - could they be supernovas? Black holes? Or something else? One thing scientists do know is that fast radio bursts are coming from the other side of the universe. They also must involve incredible energy, equivalent to the amount released by the Sun in 80 years. Their findings will be published in Nature this week. Join this briefing to hear from the researchers who detected these enigmatic radio waves, and what they know so far.

Journal/conference: Nature

Organisation/s: Swinburne University of Technology, Curtin University, CSIRO, International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR)

Funder: R.M.S. and S.O. acknowledge Australian Research Council (ARC) grant FL150100148. R.M.S. also acknowledges support through ARC grant CE170100004. G.G. acknowledges support through a Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Office of the Chief Executive (OCE) postdoctoral fellowship. Parts of this research were conducted by the ARC Centre of Excellence for All-Sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO; grant CE110001020). This research was also supported by the ARC through grant DP18010085. The Australian SKA Pathfinder and Parkes radio telescopes are part of the ATNF, which is managed by the CSIRO. Operation of ASKAP is funded by the Australian Government with support from the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy. ASKAP uses the resources of the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre. Establishment of ASKAP, the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory and the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre are initiatives of the Australian Government, with support from the Government of Western Australia and the Science and Industry Endowment Fund.

Media Briefing/Press Conference

From: Australian Science Media Centre


  • Dr Jean-Pierre Macquart is a Senior Lecturer at ICRAR / Curtin University
  • Dr Keith Bannister is the Principal Research Engineer at CSIRO
  • Dr Ryan Shannon is a researcher at Swinburne University of Technology & OzGrav ARC Centre of Excellence

Date: Wed 10 October 2018
Start Time: 10:00am AEDT
Duration: Approx 30 min 
Venue: Online


  • Springer Nature
    Web page
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  • Australian Science Media Centre
    Web page
    Link to briefing recording - playback

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