More Mysterious Stuff Coming From Deep Space

Rodiano Bonacci
Gennaio 12, 2019

Fast radio bursts are mysterious and rarely detected bursts of energy from space.

In October researchers used a radio telescope in Australia to almost double the number of known fast radio bursts.

Fast radio bursts, or FRBs, are short, intense blasts of radio waves that come from far outside our galaxy. FRBs are typically in the 1,400 MHz range, and the previous lowest radio frequency was at 700 MHz.

The fast radio bursts, named FRBs, were discovered by the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) team in British Columbia, Canada.

The mystery is partially owed to a lack of data; since astronomers first discovered FRBs in 2007, only about 60 have been observed. The telescope is located in the mountains of British Columbia's Okanagan Valley at the NRC's Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory.

Canadian scientists have detected 13 new fast radio bursts, those mysterious, split-second, high-energy pulses that reach us from unknown origins billions of light-years away.

However, Tendulkar said it was extremely unlikely the waves were caused by intelligent life. It left astronomers scratching their heads over an already freaky cosmic puzzle.

The data presented in the study was collected over a period of only 3 weeks during the Summer of Y 2018 when CHIME was in its "precommissioning phase and running at only a fraction of its full capacity", this as per MIT.

Cornell University's Shami Chatterjee, a fellow FRB researcher, agreed: "This field is about to break wide open". "There aren't so many qualitative mysteries in astrophysics", Smith said. "The next few years will be very exciting".

It's theorized these FRBs could be created by strongly magnetized, rapidly spinning neutron stars called magnetars. However, these pulsars have been found in our galaxy. The repeater was detected at least five separate times by the telescope.

"That's one followed by 12 zeros".

"That could mean [the source is] in some sort of dense clump like a supernova remnant", team member Cherry Ng, an astronomer at the University of Toronto, said in a statement. Over the course of a few milliseconds, something-we have no idea what-releases a tremendous amount of energy at radio frequencies. It also heard a very unusual repeating signal, coming from the same source about 1.5 billion light years away.

Astronomers' studying of FRBs can teach those who study more about where the bursts come from, and whether that region in its galaxy is home to turbulent gas.

It's still not clear whether the two repeaters represent a distinct class of objects from those that produce a single burst.

"Different emission mechanisms expect that FRBs will be emitted within a certain range of radio frequencies, much like a light bulb can not emit X-rays or a microwave oven can not emit ultraviolet light", Tendulkar told Gizmodo.

Of the 13 new FRBs, seven of them were, unexpectedly, detected at 400 megahertz (MHz), the lowest radio frequencies measured so far for these bursts. Some scientists had anxious that the range of frequencies it can pick up would be too low for it to receive the FRBs - but it found far more than expected, and scientists expect it to identify even more.

CHIME reconstructs the image of the overhead sky by processing the radio signals recorded by over a thousand antennas. "It gives us a lot more information".

Rather than being designed for communication, they would more likely be used to propel giant space ships powered by light sails.

CHIME scans the entire Northern Hemisphere every day, hopping from one spot to the next every 15 minutes. These bursts might be more common than we had ever thought because we can't really notice them.

However, CHIME has now added 13 additional FRBs and a second repeater to the list.

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