Astronomers weighed our Milky Way, and it’s lighter than expected

For over a decade now, so-called fast radio bursts (FRBs) have been puzzling scientists. These ultra-short-lived, bright flashes of radio waves across the sky happen all day, but no one yet knows what causes them.

Although FRBs are still a mystery, new observations of this strange phenomenon may actually help astronomers learn more about our own galactic neighbourhood. In new research presented in a press conference at the 241st American Astronomical Society meeting, a team of astronomers from Caltech reported measuring our Milky Way‘s mass using an FRB — and it turns out our galaxy is lighter than expected.

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