Dutch scientists have developed a new theory to explain radio flashes. These flashes are occasionally observed, they are very powerful but their origin is unknown.
The dominant theory was that the brief flashes of radiation were caused by objects orbiting the universe. Radiation from an object would always be temporarily blocked by matter around another star or black hole.
By connecting the radio telescopes at Westerbork and another radio telescope, the LOFAR, the ASTRON researcher can get a much better picture of the flashes to date.
In order to be able to search among the huge amounts of data generated by the two telescopes, the Dutch scientists first built a self-learning supercomputer.
The results show that the explanation of objects in orbit cannot be correct. The data shows the exact opposite of what was expected. Researcher Joeri van Leeuwen (UvA) says the most likely explanation for lightning is a very compact supermagnetic neutron star, a so-called magnetar.
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