Science

'Repeating' radio waves from deep space baffle scientists

'Repeating' radio waves from deep space baffle scientists

There's one near-certainty: these bursts are likely to be much more common.

Scientists have detected around 60 single fast radio bursts so far, two of which repeat, and they believe as many as a thousand FRBs could be in the sky every day. Now, a new FRB is getting some serious attention for a very specific reason. That suggests there might be even more of them, too low to be picked up by telescopes. The first signal to do this was named FRB 112102 and was observed by accident in 2007.

The new repeating FRB has another unusual characteristic as well.

Or, more accurately, it was the only one.

The signals consist of 13 fast radio bursts, known as "FRBs".

One of the fast radio bursts they found flashed repeatedly - only the second ever recorded to do so. It was originally created to delve into the mystery surrounding dark matter by mapping the distribution of interstellar hydrogen, but it also turns out to be well-suited to take on the mystery surrounding fast radio bursts.

As such, till it's proven otherwise, these FRBs could be like the Schrödinger's cat thought experiment - rumblings of an alien Honey Singh, rapping on in a distant galaxy for the conspiracy theorists out there, while still remaining nothing more than the final goodbyes of a dying black hole for dismissive scientists. "There are some models where intrinsically the source can't produce anything below a certain frequency", said Arun Naidu of McGill University in Canada, who was part of the team that detected the signal.




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

They spotted the bursts in a two-week period.

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 new FRBs are are also at unusually low radio frequencies.

The source is from something with an extremely powerful magnetic field that produces a signal along the radio frequency band. A second source of repeating fast radio bursts.

The unexplained radio bursts were recorded over the course of just three weeks in July 2018, during the telescope's warmup phase.

"This tells us more about the properties of repeaters as a population". "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?" The latest burst of signals were recorded at a frequency of 400 megahertz, whereas the first burst was recorded at a higher frequency of 700 megahertz. She said, "If we had 1,000 examples, we would be able to say many more things about what FRBs are like". The $16-million investment for CHIME was provided by the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the governments of British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec, with additional funding from the Dunlap Institute, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.


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