Rapid radio bursts, or FRB, are radio broadcasts that appear temporarily and randomly, so they are not only difficult to find, but also difficult to study.
The mystery comes from the fact that it is not known what could produce such a short and sharp outburst.
This has led some to speculate that they could be anything from crashing stars to artificially created messages.
Scientists looking for fast radio bursts (FRB) that some believe may be signals sent by extraterrestrials may be happening every second. The blue dots in this artist's impression of the filamentous structure of the galaxies are signals of the FRB
The first FRB was discovered, or rather, "heard" by radio telescopes, in 2001, but was not discovered until 2007, when scientists were analyzing archival data.
But it was so temporary and seemingly random that it took astronomers years to accept that it was not a fault in any of the telescope's instruments.
Researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics point out that FRBs can be used to study the structure and evolution of the universe, whether its origin is fully understood or not.
A large population of distant FRBs could act as soundings of material across gigantic distances.
This intermediate material blurs the signal from the cosmic microwave background (CMB), the excess radiation of the Big Bang.
A careful study of this intermediate material should provide a better understanding of the basic cosmic components, such as the relative amounts of ordinary matter, dark matter and dark energy, that affect how quickly the universe expands.
FRBs can also be used to track what decomposed the fog & # 39; of hydrogen atoms that impregnated the early universe in electrons and free protons, when temperatures cooled after the Big Bang.