March 27, 2019

Canada's CHIME telescope detects second repeating fast radio burst

11 January 2019, 07:28 | Dale Webster

Radio Signals From A Galaxy Light Years Away Have Been Reported

Scientists Find 13 Mysterious Deep Space Flashes Including 2nd Known'Repeater

A telescope in Canada picked up mysterious signals emanating from a distant galaxy.

Another clue is that of the 13 FRBs detected by CHIME, the majority of them showed signs of scattering, which is caused by the "different rays of light from the fast radio burst taking a slightly different path because of some material in-between the fast radio burst and the telescope", Pleunis said.

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". As the Earth rotates, the portion of the universe in that small sky section is visible to the telescope, which was designed specifically to monitor FRBs.

In 2017, Professor Avi Loeb from the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics his colleague Manasvi Lingam proposed that FRBs could be leakage from planet-sized alien transmitters, reported The Guardian.

FRBs tend to be fleeting events, but a repeating FRB, named FRB 1211012, was detected by Puerto Rico's Arecibo radio telescope in 2012.

The two sets of repeating bursts would help scientists understand what distinguishes repeating signals from single bursts, their source, and also watch out for future radio bursts. It's believed there could be about 1,000 FRBs in the sky every day.

These are fast radio bursts, some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astronomy. Only 60 FRB sources have been detected, including the 13 announced today.

Some of the signal-scattering patterns suggest that the sources of the bursts have to be in special types of locations - for example, in supernova remnants, star-forming regions or around black holes. Interestingly, some the signals follow a repeating pattern, per Science News, so they don't appear to be random in nature.

Unlike typical FRBs that come and go, the discovery of a repeating FRB is vital to increasing our understanding of them, as we are able to train our radio telescopes towards them to study them further. The project wasn't yet living up to its full potential, suggesting that there are plenty more bursts to be discovered.

The mystery stems from the fact it is not known what could produce such a short and sharp burst.

The low frequency of this new detection could mean that the source of the bursts differ. The source of this repeating FRB is located about 1.5 billion light-years from Earth, which is considerably closer than FRB 1211012, which was twice as far away.

A number of speculations have been made about what could be causing the radio bursts - with theories ranging from stars exploding to alien life, however, currently, there is little evidence to prove either.

"Knowing where they are will enable scientists to point their telescopes at them, creating an opportunity to study these mysterious signals in detail", Stairs said. That tells us something about the environments and the sources. While interesting, these new observations, he said, can not tell us about the nature of these sources-at least not yet.

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