Australian scientists have observed for the first time a burst of cosmic radio waves in real time, local media reported Wednesday.
The first bursts of rapid radio waves in space were detected by chance in 2007 through a telescope at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, CSIRO.
After the observation of similar phenomena in Australia and other parts of the world, the experts tried to explain what produces this type of rapid radio bursts and how they travel.
Emily Petroff, a doctorate candidate in Swinburne University of Technology, said that the discovery is highly exciting, a sentiment echoed by other scientists.
"We set up a real time system in March last year, and we had been hoping for a while that we would find one. So to have one pop up while we were observing was just really exciting," she told the ABC news channel.
Rapid radio bursts which are bursts of radio waves produced at high speed and last only a few milliseconds, can now be captured from Earth even though they occurred long ago.
"The universe is 13 billion years old and we are looking from the present day. But the further and further away from us we look, we are looking at light that was emitted longer and longer ago," Petroff explained.
"So when we're seeing these fast radio bursts, we think that they're coming from very far away, so billions of light years away," she added.
While the causes behind radio bursts are unknown, the head of astrophysics at CSIRO, Simon Johnston, believes one possibility could be that a neutron star collapsed to form a black hole.