Bursts of radio waves in record numbers discovered zipping through our galaxy

The bursts of radio waves travel for billions of years and sometimes pass through gas clouds: Study

Australian researchers on Thursday said they have detected a record number of radio waves from space, including the closest and fastest one that may help understand the matter between galaxies.

"We've found 20 fast radio bursts in a year, almost doubling the number detected worldwide since they were discovered in 2007," said Ryan Shannon from the Swinburne University of Technology in Victoria.

Shannon led the report on the signals detected with a high-powered telescope in Western Australia, Xinhua news agency reported.

M78 Spiral Galaxy, like many others that have been used in studying the age of the universe, are a strong source of radiowaves. Image courtesy: NASA/Hubble

The M78 spiral galaxy core pictured, like many others that have been used in studying the age of the universe, are one of many sources of loud radiowaves. Image courtesy: NASA/Hubble

The flashes of radio waves come from all over the sky and last for just milliseconds and while their exact causes are not yet known they are thought to come from the other side of the universe and involve incredible energy, equivalent to the amount released by the sun in 80 years, said the researchers.

The bursts also travel for billions of years and occasionally pass through clouds of gas, said study co-author Dr Jean-Pierre Macquart from Curtin University.

The next challenge for the researchers, whose findings were reported in scientific journal Nature, is to pinpoint the locations of bursts on the sky.

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