Astronomers detect another batch of mysterious repeating fast radio bursts

FRB Origin

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

These include exploding stars, stars with strong magnetic fields, stars merging together and yes, even the activites of alien lifeforms.

Known by its acronym CHIME, the world's most powerful radio telescope, spread across an area as big as a football pitch, is poised to detect many more of the enigmatic pulses now that it is fully operational.

"Knowing that there is another suggests that there could be more out there", said Ingrid Stairs, an astrophysicist from the University of British Columbia.

In 2017, Harvard scientists have speculated that these FRBs might be leakage from planet-sized transmitters powering interstellar probes in distant galaxies.

"That could mean in some sort of dense clump like a supernova remnant", Cherry Ng, an astronomer at the University of Toronto, told the news outlet.

Since their discovery more than a decade ago, 60-plus bursts, each named for its date of detection, have been observed by five telescopes worldwide.

"Whatever the source of these radio waves is, it's interesting to see how wide a range of frequencies it can produce", said CHIME scientist Arun Naidu of McGill University. The telescope is located at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory near Penticton, B.C. It would be helpful to figure out the nature and cause of this persistent source in the first repeater, "since it will likely shed light on the central engine of the FRB emission", he said.

"We don't know what fast radio bursts are to begin with".

Artist's impression of the active galactic nucleus shows the supermassive black hole at the center of the accretion disk sending a narrow high-energy jet of matter into space, perpendicular to the disc in this image by Science Communication Lab in Kiel Germany, released on July 12, 2018.

The new repeating FRB has another unusual characteristic as well.

Having two sets of repeating bursts could also allow scientists to understand what distinguishes them from single bursts, helping them understand more about their source and watch for future blasts.

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

Canadian astronomers have reportedly discovered a repetitive radio signal some 2.5 billion light-years away from Earth - only the second example known to mankind.

These events emit as much energy in one millisecond as the Sun emits in 10,000 years, but the physical phenomenon that causes them is unknown.

"This is good news for radio telescopes that are sensitive at lower radio frequencies", she said.

Mysterious radio signals (artist's impression) have reached Earth - from a galaxy 1.5 billion light years away.

Some have suggested that these radio waves might not be natural, and could come from advanced alien races. While interesting, these new observations, he said, can not tell us about the nature of these sources-at least not yet.



Other news