Fast radio bursts in the cosmos might not be quite so mysterious before long. Astronomers have detected the first known burst coming from within the Milky Way galaxy. It originated with the SGR 1935+2154 magnetar (a neutron star surrounded by intense magnetic fields) about 32,616 light-years away. That may sound distant, but it’s a lot closer than the next-closet magnetar, spotted about 490 million light-years away in another galaxy.
The burst was spotted in late April through a mix of satellite observations and on-the-ground radio telescope observations, including NASA’s orbiting Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory, the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) radio telescope in Canada and the US-based STARE2 telescope.