Mysterious radio signals from outer space detected

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

"Knowing that there is another suggests that there could be more out there", University of British Columbia astrophysicist, Ingrid Stairs, said in a statement.

The repeating FRB detected this past summer by CHIME is only the second one of its kind ever recorded, following one that was detected in 2012.

The new FRBs are are also at unusually low radio frequencies. The existence of a second repeating burst suggests there could be many more of the mysterious signals in the cosmos.

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.

"We have discovered a second repeater and its properties are very similar to the first repeater", said Shriharsh Tendulkar of McGill University, Canada.

The CHIME team, which designed and built the telescope, includes 14 scientists from the University of B.C. alongside others from McGill University, the University of Toronto, the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and the National Research Council of Canada.

"Different emission mechanisms expect that FRBs will be emitted within a certain range of radio frequencies, much like a light bulb can not emit X-rays or a microwave oven can not emit ultraviolet light", Tendulkar told Gizmodo.

"[We now know] the sources can produce low-frequency radio waves and those low-frequency waves can escape their environment, and are not too scattered to be detected by the time they reach the Earth", he said. Data recorded several years earlier by the Parkes Radio Telescope in Australia showed a fleeting but powerful radio emission coming from an unidentified source in space. CHIME measures scattering more precisely than other instruments because it operates at lower frequencies. (The fact that it repeats gives them a good chance of spotting it again.) They hope that tracing the radio signal back a known visible object may reveal what produced it. Dozens of mysterious radio signals have been noted by scientists with telescopes being used all over the world to track its source.

The CHIME observatory, in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley, has four 100-metre-long, semi-cylindrical antennas, which scan the entire northern sky each day. But only one burst has ever been traced back to its source: a repeating burst called FRB 121102, which flickers periodically from a dim dwarf galaxy 3 billion light-years away. "Our data will break open some of the mysteries of [the bursts]".

Since FRBs occur so quickly, studying them and identifying the source is hard.

"This tells us more about the properties of repeaters as a population". While interesting, these new observations, he said, can not tell us about the nature of these sources-at least not yet. "But it has to be in some special place tog I've us all the scattering that we see".

"At the end of a year we may have found 1,000 more bursts".

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