Detections of FRBs at low frequencies also provide a new clue to the astrophysical puzzle
A Canadian-led team of scientists has found the second repeating fast radio burst (FRB) ever recorded. FRBs are short bursts of radio waves coming from far outside our Milky Way galaxy. Scientists believe FRBs emanate from powerful astrophysical phenomena billions of light years away.
The discovery of the extragalactic signal is among the first, eagerly awaited results from the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME), a revolutionary radio telescope inaugurated in late 2017 by a collaboration of scientists from the University of British Columbia, McGill University, University of Toronto, Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, and the National Research Council of Canada.
In a resounding endorsement of the novel telescope’s capabilities, the repeating FRB was one of a total of 13 bursts detected over a period of just three weeks during the summer of 2018, while CHIME was in its pre-commissioning phase and running at only a fraction of its full capacity. Additional bursts from the repeating FRB were detected in following weeks by the telescope, which is located in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley.
Discovery of second repeating FRB suggests more exist
Of the more than 60 FRBs observed to date, repeating bursts from a single source had been found only once before – a discovery made by the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico in 2015.
“Until now, there was only one known repeating FRB. Knowing that there is another suggests that there could be more out there. 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,” said Ingrid Stairs, a member of the CHIME team and an astrophysicist at UBC.
Before CHIME began to gather data, some scientists wondered if the range of radio frequencies the telescope had been designed to detect would be too low to pick up fast radio bursts. Most of the FRBs previously detected had been found at frequencies near 1400 MHz, well above the Canadian telescope’s range of 400 MHz to 800 MHz.
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. 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 MHz.
FRB sources likely to be in ‘special places’ within galaxies
The majority of the 13 FRBs detected showed signs of “scattering,” a phenomenon that reveals information about the environment surrounding a source of radio waves. The amount of scattering observed by the CHIME team led them to conclude that the sources of FRBs are powerful astrophysical objects more likely to be in locations with special characteristics.
“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. “Or near the central black hole in a galaxy. But it has to be in some special place to give us all the scattering that we see.”
A new clue to the puzzle
Ever since FRBs were first detected, scientists have been piecing together the signals’ observed characteristics to come up with models that might explain the sources of the mysterious bursts and provide some idea of the environments in which they occur. The detection by CHIME of FRBs at lower frequencies means some of these theories will need to be reconsidered.
“Whatever the source of these radio waves is, it’s interesting to see how wide a range of frequencies it can produce. There are some models where intrinsically the source can’t produce anything below a certain frequency,” says team member Arun Naidu of McGill University.
“[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. That tells us something about the environments and the sources. We haven’t solved the problem, but it’s several more pieces in the puzzle,” says Tom Landecker, a CHIME team member from the National Research Council of Canada.
The Latest on: Repeating fast radio burst
via Google News
The Latest on: Repeating fast radio burst
- Scientists detect eight mysterious repeating deep space signalson August 15, 2019 at 7:52 pm
An unprecedented eight repeating radio signals, or fast radio bursts, have been detected emanating from deep space. Astronomers are edging closer to unraveling the mystery. Early in 2019, one of the ...
- Astronomers Closer to Cracking Mystery of Fast Radio Burstson August 15, 2019 at 11:06 am
powerful flashes in the sky known as fast radio bursts (FRBs), after a Canadian telescope discovered eight more of the most intriguing type of these blasts—those that repeat their signals. FRBs are ...
- Scientists detect EIGHT new mysterious radio signals coming from deep spaceon August 15, 2019 at 7:49 am
For instance, repeating signals descend in frequency ... unveiled this month that automatically picks up the bursts when they reach Earth. WHAT ARE FAST RADIO BURSTS AND WHY DO WE STUDY THEM? Fast ...
- Astronomers detect 8 new mysterious repeating radio signals from deep spaceon August 14, 2019 at 2:05 pm
only two were determined to be repeated bursts. In January 2019, just two FRBs were repeaters. Now, there are a total of 10 repeating FRBs. So, what do these new findings mean? Scientists say ...
- Astronomers just quintupled the number of known repeating fast radio burstson August 14, 2019 at 12:19 pm
Astronomers have found eight new fast radio bursts that repeatedly flash on and off. That haul brings the total of known repeating fast radio bursts, or FRBs, to 10, compared with the 60 or so ...
- Astronomers Detect Eight New Potential Alien Signalson August 14, 2019 at 12:10 pm
In 2007, astronomers discovered a high-energy radio signal emanating ... eighth produced 10 total bursts. In addition to dramatically increasing the number of known repeating FRBs, the team ...
- Eight mysterious repeating radio signals detected from outside our galaxyon August 14, 2019 at 12:07 pm
Astronomers could be close to unraveling one of the greatest mysteries of space after a Canadian telescope detected eight new repeating radio signals known as ‘fast radio bursts’ Fast radio ...
- X marks the spot for fast radio burstson August 14, 2019 at 10:13 am
Jason Hessels is at ASTRON (the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy) and the Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy, University of Amsterdam, 1098XH Amsterdam, the Netherlands. However, most ...
- Astronomers Have Found An Incredible 8 More Repeating Fast Radio Burstson August 14, 2019 at 9:27 am
Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) are rare intense emissions of radio waves that last only a fraction of a second and have traveled to us through intergalactic distances. Only a few dozens of these events have ...
- Observatory detects numerous mysterious radio bursts from deep spaceon August 13, 2019 at 12:08 pm
A new telescope in Canada has taken a major step toward unravelling the mystery of fast radio bursts (FRBs)—intense millisecond bursts of radio waves from distant galaxies. The researchers behind the ...
via Bing News