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The Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia monitored fast radio burst (FRB) 121102. Photo: Green Bank Observatory.

Scientists honed in on the galaxy where mysterious fast radio bursts (FRB) seem to be originating. In just a few milliseconds, FRBs give off roughly the same amount of energy as the Sun does in a day, according to a New York Times report.

Why it matters: At least 30 FRBs have been found since 2007, per the Times, and scientists don't know what causes them. But, they've gotten more information about the environment around them after tracing a particularly repetitive burster called FRB121102 to a galaxy that's 3 billion light years away.

What happened: FRB121102 looked to have been made "in a magnetic field at least thousands of times more powerfully than normally seen in space," the Times reports. The Washington Post reports its flares are "500 times as twisted as any other burst scientists have seen," which also supports the theory that they originate near an intense magnetic field — like the one produced by the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy or a supernova.

Other potential sources include:

  • For FRB121102, the Post reports that scientists believe it could be surrounded by "a highly magnetized cocoon of material."
  • Extraterrestrial intelligence and "solar-powered alien craft," but per the Post, an E.T. research initiative focused on FRB121102 "revealed no extraterrestrial voyagers."
  • A neutron star could be producing the flare, but Simon Chatterjee at Cornell, who tracked FRB121102, told the Times "it would have to be unlike anything else seen in our galaxy."

What's next: Sarah Burke-Spolaor, a West Virginia University astrophysicist who was involved in research on FBR121102, told the Post the latest discovery on the burst "will help 'steer the field.'"

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Congressional leaders clinch support for crucial defense bill, debt limit votes

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer passes waiting reporters on Tuesday. Photo: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Congress has found a shortcut to pass its annual defense funding bill and raise the debt limit.

Driving the news: The House voted Tuesday night on two major bills — one creating a one-time, fast-track process for the Senate to raise the debt ceiling with just 51 votes, and another passing its annual defense bill.

House passes annual defense bill

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The House voted to pass the annual defense bill 363-70 on Tuesday night, authorizing nearly $770 billion in funding for defenses and national security programs.

Why it matters: The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) still has to clear the Senate, but the House passage greatly increases the chances that the must-pass defense bill will move through both chambers of Congress before the end of the year.

Women politicians are under siege

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Kevin Dietsch, Stefani Reynolds, and Alex Wong/Getty Images

Women in Congress feel besieged and singled-out amid surging threats against lawmakers at all levels, with some frustrated more hasn't been done to halt the trend.

Why it matters: As record numbers of American women are being elected to public office, their growing political power is being met with death and rape threats, sexist and racist abuse and online disinformation. Collectively, it's discouraged women from running for office.