Astronomers Just Detected A Mysterious Repeating Cosmic Radio Burst -- Again

10 January, 2019, 09:55 | Author: Kelly Sanders
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"The fact that the bursts are repeated rules out any cataclysmic models in which the source is destroyed while generating the burst", he added.

The findings were announced by Deborah Good, an astronomer at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Washington on Wednesday. "In principle, there might be two separate types of sources, as in the case of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), where long-duration GRBs (lasting more than a few seconds) are linked to the collapse of massive stars and short-duration GRBs are linked to mergers of neutrons stars". The telescope, which resembles a set of skateboarding half-pipes, was built as part of the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) to record radio signals from outer space.

The first FRB was spotted, or rather "heard" by radio telescopes, back in 2001 but wasn't discovered until 2007 when scientists were analysing archival data.

Kaspi said CHIME quickly detected a source that sent out a series of six fast radio bursts.

"By detecting and characterizing fast radio bursts at different frequencies, we can understand better which theories work and which do not", post-doctoral fellow at McGill University, Shriharsh Tendulkar, told Cnet.

In one of the two papers published in Nature researchers said seeing two repeating blasts probably means there exists a "substantial population" and it's very possible humans will find it.

Mysterious repeating energy bursts have been detected for only the second time.


Before CHIME began to gather data, some scientists wondered if the range of radio frequencies the telescope had been created to detect would be too low to pick up fast radio bursts. Seeing a signal at all indicates something big, like a black hole collision, could be the cause.

While most FRBs have been spotted at wavelengths of a few centimetres, the latest FRBs were detected at wavelengths of almost a metre, which opens up new lines of inquiry, according to the CHIME team.

More likely, CHIME's Shiryash Tendulkar says, is the possibility that they come from a "very strongly magnetized, rapidly spinning neutron star called a millisecond magnetar".

The other institutions with leading roles are the University of Toronto, the National Research Council of Canada, and the Perimeter Institute. The first repeating fast radio burst was recorded at a frequency of 700 megahertz, but some of the bursts CHIME recorded were as low as 400 megahertz.

"And with more repeaters and more sources available for study, we may be able to understand these cosmic puzzles - where they're from and what causes them".

CHIME is a fixed radio telescope that covers more area than a football field and passively scans the skies 24/7 as Earth rotates. "But it has to be in some special place tog I've us all the scattering that we see".

The FRBs show various temporal scattering behaviours, with the majority significantly scattered, and some apparently unscattered to within measurement uncertainty even at our lowest frequencies.

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