Flashes in the scan

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Science  15 Mar 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6432, pp. 1138-1141
DOI: 10.1126/science.363.6432.1138

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The Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) is the newest radio telescope at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory in western Canada. The telescope is small and cheap compared with other leading radio observatories. But by luck as much as design, its capabilities are just right for probing what may be the most compelling new mystery in astronomy: signals from the distant universe called fast radio bursts (FRBs). First discovered in 2007, FRBs are so bright that they stick out in the data like a peak in the nearby Canadian Rockies—providing a telescope is watching and its electronics are fast enough to pick out the pulses, which last only a few thousandths of a second. In January, CHIME made global headlines for bagging 13 new FRBs, bringing the total known to more than 60. Scientists think CHIME could end up finding as many as two dozen FRBs a day.