Second mysterious repeating fast radio burst has been detected in space

Credit PA

Professor Ingrid Stairs, an astrophysicist at British Columbia University in Canada, said: "The bursts are estimated to originate from a distance of around 1.5 billion light years - approximately half the distance of the other repeating burst, FRB 121102". Although the source of the object is still unknown, Loeb was one of the scientists suggesting that it was probably an alien probe falling off from the galaxy after completing its mission.

A repeating fast radio burst (FRB) has been detected by the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME), a new radio telescope.

The unexplained radio bursts were recorded over the course of just three weeks in July 2018, during the telescope's warmup phase. "First spotted in 2007, FRBs are one of the most intriguing mysteries in astrophysics". "Where they're from, what causes them, and why". One other detail that needs to be considered would be that those bursts were collected at the lowest frequencies yet (400MHz to 800MHz).

An artist impression of the outer casing of a neutron star. "It could be colliding black holes but you don't expect black holes to collide and then an hour later collide again, and then after that to collide again, right?"

This is because CHIME's telescope is quite advanced in comparison to the ones that were being used before, and operates in the lower ranges of 400 MHz - the next one was at 700 MHz.

To which he added: "CHIME is the most prolific FRB hunter in the world and we are looking forward to sharing new results in the upcoming months".

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.

Detected from the hills of British Columbia, these repeated signals appear to be coming from a source estimated at about 1.5 billion light-years.

But, from whatever little data exists, most scientists do not believe that FRBs are attempts by aliens to contact us.

"By detecting and characterizing fast radio bursts at different frequencies, we can understand better which theories work and which do not", post-doctoral fellow at McGill University, Shriharsh Tendulkar, told Cnet.

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

A fast radio burst lasts only a few milliseconds; due to both the very brief appearance and the inability to predict where they will happen, it has proven very hard for astronomers to study the FRBs.

In October researchers used a radio telescope in Australia to almost double the number of known fast radio bursts. But it has to be in some special place to give us all the scattering that we see'.

The FRBs show various temporal scattering behaviours, with the majority significantly scattered, and some apparently unscattered to within measurement uncertainty even at our lowest frequencies.



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