Many of the brightest, weirdest phenomena in space come from cataclysmic events like explosions or collisions. But many fast radio bursts (FRBs), one of the most mysterious space signals we’ve seen, must not. That might mean that they are all part of a class of FRB that we previously thought might be rare.
“I don’t think we can rule out that there are multiple classes of things that go boom in the radio sky,” says Victoria Kaspi at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. “We have suspected and have some evidence that there are multiple classes, and what fraction belong to each class is unknown.” Because none of our models thus far quite fit, she says it’s also possible the FRBs are formed by events we’ve never seen or considered before.