Peculiar Fast Radio Burst Provides Clues to Mysterious Origin

The Green Bank Telescope was able to observe the directional changes of waves from FRB20190520B as viewed through the lens of a massive star’s atmosphere. Image credit: NSF/GBO/P.Vosteen.

Residing in the heart of a dwarf galaxy four billion light years away is a mysterious cosmological object producing bursts of energy that only last a few milliseconds. New research about this Fast Radio Burst (FRB) has revealed a rarely seen astronomical environment around its source, where magnetic fields twist, turn, and undulate over time. This is the first detection of a magnetic field reversal observed from an FRB, and the first time this behavior has been observed in another galaxy.