Question: Are there powerful millisecond explosions in the universe often, but we just can’t feel them?

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  1. My favourite question yet! This is a question that my research is currently trying to answer. I’m using powerful radio telescopes to survey the Universe, looking for millisecond bursts of radiation from galaxies billions of light years away. Such explosions would be very interesting as it would trace the collisions of neutron stars or black holes. And the signals produced would be modified by all the material in the Universe it had to travel through before it reaches the telescope, so the data would be imprinted with information about the material that exists between the galaxies, the Intergalactic Medium, about which we know very little. We have not found anything yet, but I have big observational programs that work 24/7 to search. But the answer to your question is yes, there could be thousands of millisecond bursts every day which would not be noticed, unless you were using a powerful telescope to find them. That is because they are a very long way away and the radiation weakens before it gets to the Earth.