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In Brief

Burst of radiation in space detected

September 29, 2007

Astronomers searching for pulsars, compacted neutron stars that send out pulses of radiation, spotted a powerful burst of radio waves unlike anything they had seen before, they reported Friday in the journal Science. It was brief but very strong, and it appears to have come from about 3 billion light-years away.

"This burst . . . may have been produced by an exotic event such as the collision of two neutron stars or the death throes of an evaporating black hole," said Duncan Lorimer of West Virginia University and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.

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