Astronomers Uncover the Surprising Location of Fast Radio Burst That Kept Repeating

Astronomers Uncover the Surprising Location of Fast Radio Burst That Kept Repeating

Fast radio bursts often represent a reason for astronomers to get very excited. They could indicate the presence of an alien civilization trying to ‘wave’ at us from far away. There are also other possible explanations, though, but we have to admit that finding alien life has been the dream of many of us.

The term ‘FRB 20200120E’ might not say anything for you. But for astronomers, it’s the designation of a mysterious fast radio burst (FRB) that kept repeating itself. According to, astronomers finally found the place in space from where the FRB shoots, and it’s pretty surprising.

FRB 20200120E is the closest fast radio burst from another galaxy

FRB 20200120E has now become the closest FRB from another galaxy that scientists are aware of. They tracked down its location to a galaxy from 11.7 million light-years away from Earth. Very old stars seem to be predominant in this galaxy, and it was surprising to find out that such a bulk of stars can host an FRB.

Surely the distance to our planet is tremendous, but not necessarily for the Universe as well. The uncovered location makes FRB 20200120E about 40 times closer compared to the extragalactic signal that qualifies as the second closest to us.

The researchers explained in their study paper:

Here we report observations that localized the FRB to a globular cluster associated with M81, where it is 2 parsecs away from the optical centre of the cluster,

Globular clusters host old stellar populations, challenging FRB models that invoke young magnetars formed in a core-collapse supernova.

There are several possibilities when it comes to the exact source of the FRB. It could be an accreting black hole, a magnetar, a neutron star, a white dwarf, etc. There’s no compelling hint that we could blame it on any aliens yet.

The new findings are published in Nature.


Even since he was a child, Cristian was staring curiously at the stars, wondering about the Universe and our place in it. Today he's seeing his dream come true by writing about the latest news in astronomy. Cristian is also glad to be covering health and other science topics, having significant experience in writing about such fields.

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