Radio bursts from space are exhibiting a strange ‘sad trombone’ effect

The Allen Telescope Array

Seth Shostak/SETI Institute

Short, powerful bursts of radio waves from space are getting stranger and stranger. Astronomers have spotted 35 of these bursts from a single object with a pattern unlike any we have seen before.

Sofia Sheikh at the SETI Institute in California and her colleagues observed this object, a fast radio burst (FRB) called FRB 20220912A, over the course of 541 hours of observation with the Allen Telescope Array in California. In each of the bursts from this FRB, they found a phenomenon called the “sad trombone”…


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