Saturday, 19 January, 2019

A second mysterious repeating fast radio burst has been detected in space

Credit PA Credit PA
Frank Williams | 10 January, 2019, 09:57

Intriguingly, one of these newly documented bursts is a repeater, becoming just the second-known repeating fast radio burst among the 60 documented so far.

Astronomers have revealed details of mysterious signals emanating from a distant galaxy, picked up by a telescope in Canada.

The findings were presented during a meeting held by the American Astronomical Society in Seattle, Wash., on Thursday.

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.

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.

The telescope was launched previous year, detecting 13 of the radio bursts nearly immediately, including the repeater that was detected today. "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", astrophysicist Ingrid Stairs told the Independent.

The radio waves were detected by the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME), the world's most powerful radio telescope, spread across an area as big as a football pitch. Knowing that there is another suggests that there could be more out there.

France to crack down on unauthorized protests
However, this was the case of Luigi Di Maio, the Italian deputy prime minister and minister of labour. Mr Macron made a raft of economic concessions in December to appease the protesters.

"An FRB emitted from a merger of two neutron stars, or a neutron star and a black hole, for example, can not repeat". "We estimate that there are up to 1,000 of these bursts in the entire sky every day", corresponding author Shriharsh Tendulkar of McGill University said in an email. The first FRB that repeats was detected in 2012.

"Seeing these bursts with CHIME will give us a good idea about what FRBs are like and where they come from, by showing us more about how their brightness changes at different frequencies and what's happening to the signal on its way to Earth", she added.

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.

Another interesting twist has to do with the radio frequencies of the newly detected bursts.

The team - who have been specifically looking for FRBs - also noted that all of the new signals observed have been under 800 MHz, which is much lower than the previously detected frequencies, which hovered around the 1,400 MHz area. The $16-million investment for CHIME was provided by the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the governments of British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec, with additional funding from the Dunlap Institute, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. In some of the 13 cases, the signal at the lower end of the band was so bright that it seems likely other FRBs will be detected at frequencies even lower than CHIME's minimum of 400 megahertz.

The majority of the FRBs discovered by the telescope showed signs of "scattering", Phys.org reported - which led the CHIME team to believe the radio bursts are "powerful astrophysical objects".

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