Pasadena, CA— Fast radio bursts are quick, bright flashes of radio waves from an unknown source in space. They are a mysterious phenomenon that last only a few milliseconds, and until now they have not been observed in real time. An international team of astronomers, including three from the Carnegie Observatories, has for the first time observed a fast radio burst happening live. Their work is published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Washington, D.C.— Carnegie astronomer Mark Phillips, interim director of the Las Campanas Observatory, is one of a group of scientists being honored with the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics.

The prize recognizes “major insights into the deepest questions of the Universe” and is being shared by two research teams, the Supernova Cosmology Project and the High-Z Supernova Search Team, of which Phillips is a member.