Aug. 6 (UPI) -- Canada's newest radio telescope has recorded the first fast radio burst featuring low-frequency waves.
The unusual fast radio burst, or FRB, was originally picked up by the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment, or CHIME, in late July. The novel signal was reported by McGill University astronomer Patrick Boyle in the Astronomer's Telegram last week.
"The event is clearly detected at frequencies as low as 580 MHz and represents the first detection of an FRB at radio frequencies below 700 MHz," Boyle wrote in his report.
Fast radio bursts have been regularly recorded by telescopes and studied by astronomers, but scientists have struggled to explain their origins.
Astronomers are, however, getting better at tracking the signals. An earlier FRB study used a combination of telescopes to trace its origin to an elliptical galaxy located 6 billion light-years away.
The study of another FRB -- and its unique twisting pattern -- suggested the signal originated near a supermassive black hole.
Scientists do know fast radio bursts are extremely bright and travel from far away. Their intensity suggests they are produced by extremely powerful phenomena.
"If we had one of these on the other side of our own galaxy -- the Milky Way -- it would disrupt radio here on Earth, and we'd notice, as it would saturate the signal levels on our smartphones," astronomer Shami Chatterjee said earlier this year. "Whatever is happening there is scary. We would not want to be there."
Some amateur astronomers have suggested the fast radio bursts are produced by highly advanced civilizations located in billions of light-years away. The scenario sounds far-fetched, but astronomers have acknowledged they can't rule out an artificial source.
With newly constructed observatories, like CHIME and IceCube, beginning to field unique observations, scientists may soon be able to better explain FRBs.