Published: Sat, January 12, 2019
Science | By Michele Flores

New series of fast radio bursts from deep space detected

New series of fast radio bursts from deep space detected

Perimeter Institute Repeating fast radio bursts from distant space, or FRBs, have been detected by Canada's CHIME Telescope, pictured.

Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) are very energetic, fleeting radio signals (they only last a few milliseconds), which are supposed to come from deep space. The frequency patterns also share some characteristics with magnetars, those rotating neutron stars that have always been suspected to be FRB sources.

The second repeating FRB was detected during a pre-commissioning run of the CHIME telescope in the summer of 2018, which means it wasn't even running at its full capacity.

Additional bursts from the repeating FRB were detected in following weeks. Ingrid stairs who is the member of CHIME Team have had an interview in which he said that till now there had been one repeated FRB and there are clearer confirmations that there would be more suggestions like there have been before out there. They're hoping this new data will help them figure out more details about what created them.

'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'. Before CHIME, astronomers noted that most of the previously detected bursts had frequencies around 1,400 MHz, and some wondered whether CHIME would detect any bursts at all in its range of 400 to 800 MHz.

According to the University of Toronto, in total, 13 new FRBs were detected.

CHIME is a fixed radio telescope that covers more area than a football field and passively scans the skies 24/7 as Earth rotates.

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The FRBs were detected first by accident in 2007 as a burst signal in radio astronomy data collected in 2001 was spotted.

"The fact that the bursts are repeated rules out any cataclysmic models in which the source is destroyed while generating the burst", he added.

Most of the 13 found by Chime showed signs of "scattering", which scientists said suggests they could come from powerful astrophysical objects in locations with special characteristics.

The telescope has been in use for only a year, detecting 13 of the radio bursts nearly immediately, including the repeater.

As technology improves and instruments used to study the cosmos become more and more advanced, we're answering a lot of questions about our place in the universe, but we're also coming up with entirely new ones.

Located in B.C.'s Okanagan Valley, the CHIME telescope is made up of four 100-metre long, concave antennas.

The telescope processes radio signals recorded by thousands of atennas with a large signal processing system and is the largest of any on earth. "That tells us something about the environments and the sources", said CHIME team member Dr. Tom Landecker, a scientist at the National Research Council of Canada.

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