Fast Radio Bursts

Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) are mysterious, millisecond flashes of radio light of unknown origin from far outside the Milky Way. The nature of FRBs, including their emission mechanism and environment, is one of the most perplexing enigmas in astrophysics.

The Mystery

The first FRB was discovered in 2007 by Duncan Lorimer in archived pulsar data recorded by the Parkes Observatory. Since then many FRBs have since been recorded, including sources emitting repeated bursts. Most FRBs are extragalactic, but the first galactic FRB was detected by the CHIME radio telescope in 2020. Their all-sky rate of about 1,000 per day which suggests that the phenomenon is ubiquitous.

The average FRB releases as much energy in a millisecond as the Sun puts out in three days. However, the strength of the signal reaching the Earth is 1,000 times less than from a mobile phone on the Moon. Understanding the origin of FRBs remains one of the most important open problems in astronomy. Diverse progenitors have been proposed, including white dwarfs, old neutron stars, old black holes, magnetars, young pulsars, supernovae remnants, and active supermassive black holes.


LeCosPA recently joined the Bustling Universe Radio Survey Telescope in Taiwan (BURSTT) project. This will be the first dedicated radio telescope for FRB studies equipped with wide-angle, long-baseline interferometry. To better constrain source models, BURSTT is optimized to discover and localize a large sample of nearby FRBs, which are most amenable to multi-messenger and multi-wavelength follow-up. The first phase of the experiment will employ 256 antennas, which will detect about 100 FRBs per year with accurate positions in the sky. The second phase will have 2048 antennas, which will detect more than 2,000 FRBs every year.

By clicking “Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to analyze and enhance site usage. View our for more information.