Second mysterious repeating fast radio burst has been detected in space

11 January, 2019, 19:31 | Author: Darnell Taylor
  • The uniquely shaped CHIME telescope in British Columbia

While this preliminary data doesn't provide a clear indication of what fast radio bursts are, CHIME provides reason for optimism that the "we need more data" mantra is likely to be met. CHIME is now fully commissioned, and it will be taking data full time and with the instrument's full field of view.

Inaugurated in 2017, CHIME's primary goals are to improve knowledge of dark energy and detect extragalactic fast radio bursts-brief, bright flashes of radio waves that last a few milliseconds. Now, a new FRB is getting some serious attention for a very specific reason.

The most important thing to understand about FRBs is that they're nearly always a singular event.

It was in 2007 that the first FRB was detected, entirely by accident, and many scientists believed that this was because of some "mix-up" in the telescope.

As for the new repeater, it's called FRB 180814.J0422+73.

Or, more accurately, it was the only one.

The so-called repeating fast radio bursts were identified during the trial run last summer of a built-for-purpose telescope running at only a fraction of its capacity.

The signal was detected by CHIME radio telescope in Canada, which managed to confirm six of the repeating bursts coming from the same location.

There are a number of theories about what's causing FRBs, including the possibility that a neutron star is releasing powerful signals after it exploded or even, albeit held by only a small minority, that they're signals from an alien civilization.

They're probably generated by extremely energetic events, since most FRBs are detected from a great distance.

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"FRBs were an unexpected mystery".

In all the researchers spotted some 13 of the bursts in just a three week period, offering a vast new trove of data for the scientists hunting for their source.

"Extraordinary claims beg for extraordinary evidence, so for now, a simpler explanation based on known physical processes is preferred by most scientists", Pleunis said.

"[We now know] the sources can produce low-frequency radio waves and those low-frequency waves can escape their environment, and are not too scattered to be detected by the time they reach the Earth".

These 13 FRBs, which include the repeater, were detected on a much lower frequency than had been detected before.

The latest results settled these doubts, with the majority of the 13 bursts being recorded well down to the lowest frequencies in the radio telescope's range.

'Or near the central black hole in a galaxy.

He added: "That tells us something about the environments and the sources".

The CHIME telescope in British Columbia will search our universe for phenomena such as fast radio bursts, pulsars and more. "And that's why finding more FRBs is so exciting for us".

The CHIME/FRB project is a combined effort between scientists from the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, the National Research Council of Canada, the University of British Columbia, McGill University and the University of Toronto.

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