Chinese astronomers detect mysterious signals from space

Rodiano Bonacci
Settembre 10, 2019

Chinese astronomers have detected repeated Fast Radio Bursts (FRB), mysterious signals believed to be from a source about 3 billion light years from the Earth, with the largest and most sensitive radio telescope ever built.

The scientists detected the signals with the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST) and are carefully cross-checking and processing them, according to researchers at the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC).

There have been less than 100 fast radio bursters (FRBs) discovered, and FRB 121102 is the only one that has been detected erupting a couple of times, with the previous detection in 2015 by the Arecibo radio telescope. The freaky and powerful flashes of radio waves that shoot from the cosmos are thought to originate billions of light years from Earth, lasting only for a few milliseconds in duration. This information was given by China's official news agency Xinhua on Monday. But, in that time, they can discharge more energy than 500 million Suns. The scientists used that receiver to record fast radio bursts coming from the FRB121102, an FRBs source identified in 2015 by the Arecibo Observatory. It's a mirror image of the Russian RATAN-600 telescope that boasts of the largest single-dish aperture.

Fast Radio Burts. image credit JINGCHUAN YU BEIJING PLANETARIUM  NRAO
Fast Radio Burts. image credit JINGCHUAN YU BEIJING PLANETARIUM NRAO

Many theories emerged about fast radio bursts.

Located in a naturally deep and round karst depression in southwest China's Guizhou Province, FAST was completed in September 2016 and is due to start regular operations this month. In the light of the latest observations, Chinese researchers focused on further monitoring the phenomenon and encouraging the world's academic community to carry out in-depth analysis from their sites.

Observers all over the globe look forward to unearthing more exciting mysteries of our Universe using FAST. Astronomers from over ten countries are already using FAST to study exoplanets, cosmic rays, interstellar matter, and gravitational waves, among others.

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