Repetitive Radio Burst From Distant Galaxy, Detected By Scientists in Okanagan Valley

14 January, 2019, 04:59 | Author: Sherry Houston
  • Scientists Find 13 Mysterious Deep Space Flashes Including 2nd Known'Repeater

Fast radio bursts, also known as FRBs, are powerful spikes of radio emissions that emanate from galaxies beyond our own Milky Way and last for mere milliseconds.

"Until now, there was only one known repeating FRB", said Ingrid Stairs, a member of the CHIME team and an astrophysicist at UBC. And when there are increased sources and more repeaters for the objective of conducting a study, the cosmic puzzles would become easier for them to have better understanding and it would then be clear that what the actual source of those blasts was. The radio telescope was still in its pre-commissioning phase and operating with only a small amount of its full capacity in the summer of 2018 when it detected this and 12 singular fast radio bursts.

Professor Avi Loeb, from the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics in the U.S., has previously said that FRBs could potentally be evidence of advanced alien technology.

The powerful signal came from about 1.5 billion light-years away, at least twice as close as the first detected repeating burst. Excitingly, it bears striking similarities to the first repeating FRB.

Over time, Stairs says researchers will hopefully be able to develop a "clearer picture" that could lead to figuring out what exactly is producing these radio waves.

FRBs are not rare, as about 60 have been catalogued since 2007, but only one has been a repeating FRB so far, opening up debate as to what causes them. That suggests there might be even more of them, too low to be picked up by CHIME, reported The Independent.

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The CHIME team's results - published January 9 in two papers in Nature and presented the same day at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Seattle - settled these doubts, with the majority of the 13 bursts being recorded well down to the lowest frequencies in CHIME's range.

The telescope has been in use for only a year, detecting 13 of the radio bursts nearly immediately, including the repeater.

"The CHIME discovery points to a huge potential", says Shami Chatterjee, a senior researcher at the Cornell Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Science told National Geographic.

A team of more than 50 scientists has discovered 13 more fast radio bursts, as well as the second repeating FRB ever recorded.

The second is that building a database of these events - and especially repeaters, which can be traced to their home galaxies - will help construct statistics that will narrow down the conditions from which FRBs originate.

At distances of billions of light years it's obviously very hard to test any of these theories, but detecting more FRBs, especially those that have a habit of repeating, could bring us closer to an explanation. According to Harvard University professor Abraham Loeb, it's possible that the FRBs can be traced back to massive energy beams that according to him could be used to propel large alien spaceships.

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