Scientists Detect Second Ever Repeating Fast Radio Burst

first_img Scientists Detect Eight New Repeating Fast Radio BurstsAI Detects More Mysterious Cosmic Radio Bursts Stay on target A team of more than 50 scientists has discovered 13 more fast radio bursts, as well as the second repeating FRB ever recorded.These sightings, described in two papers published by the journal Nature, are among the first results from the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) interferometric radio telescope.Inaugurated in 2017, CHIME’s primary goals are to improve knowledge of dark energy and detect extragalactic fast radio bursts—brief, bright flashes of radio waves that last a few milliseconds.The astrophysical mysteries are thought to originate from far outside our Milky Way, but their source remains unclear.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.CHIME is different, though.The Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) is a radio telescope designed to spot fast radio bursts (via Andre Renard/MIT)“The telescope has no moving parts. Instead it uses digital signal processing to ‘point’ the telescope and reconstruct where the radio waves are coming from,” according to Kiyoshi Masui, an assistant professor at MIT’s Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research.“This is done using clever algorithms and a couple of giant computer clusters that sit beside the telescope and crunch away at the data in real time,” he explained.The team, which includes Masui and Kavli postdoc Juan Mena Parra, presented their findings at this week’s American Astronomical Society meeting in Seattle.A majority of the bakers’ dozen FRBs detected showed signs of “scattering” or “dispersion,” a phenomenon that reveals information about how much matter the bursts travelled through to reach Earth.The amount of scattering observed by CHIME suggests these flares originate in powerful astrophysical objects, likely to be in locations with “special characteristics.”“That could mean in some sort of dense clump like a supernova remnant,” team member and University of Toronto astronomer Cherry Ng said in a statement. “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.”Among the 13 FRBs identified over three weeks last summer, scientists also discovered rare repeat bursts from a single source.“Until now, there was only one known repeating FRB,” Ingrid Stairs, a member of the CHIME team and an astrophysicist at the University of British Columbia, said.That one was spotted by the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico in 2015.“And with more repeaters available for study, we may be able to understand these cosmic puzzles a bit better,” Stairs added. “Where they’re from, what causes them, and why.”More on Neutron Stars Help Scientists Set Atomic ClocksAstronomers Discover ‘Farout,’ the Most Distant Solar System ObjectArmchair Astronomers Can Now Visit a Black Hole—In Virtual Realitylast_img read more