Fast Radio Burst “Afterglow” Was Actually a Flickering Black Hole

Fast Radio Burst

Last February a team of astronomers reported detecting an afterglow from a mysterious event called a fast radio burst, which would pinpoint the precise position of the burst’s origin, a longstanding goal in studies of these mysterious events. These findings were quickly called into question by follow-up observations. New research by Harvard astronomers Peter Williams and Edo Berger shows that the radio emission believed to be an afterglow actually originated from a distant galaxy’s core and was unassociated with the fast radio burst.

“Part of the scientific process is investigating findings to see if they hold up. In this case, it looks like there’s a more mundane explanation for the original radio observations,” says Williams.

The new work has been accepted for publication in Astrophysical Journal Letters.