UBC scientists record second repeating radio burst from outside our galaxy

UBC scientists record second repeating radio burst from outside our galaxy

The goal: learn more about the powerful signals and where they come from. Prior to this, only 50 FRBs had ever been observed by humans, only one of which was a repeater. We have never seen anything like this before. "This allows us to study how structures in the Universe formed and how they are distributed". In a pair of papers published today, researchers say they've found 13 new FRBs using the method.

The 13 radio bursts were picked up by a telescope at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory in Canada.

To detect the new fast radio bursts, scientists used results from the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME), a powerful, revolutionary radio telescope which was completed in late 2017, and was developed in collaboration with scientists Kiyoshi Masui, an assistant professor of physics at MIT and Juan Mena Parra, a Kavli postdoc.

The Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) is a radio telescope created to answer major questions in astrophysics and cosmology, including the phenomena of Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs), fleeting and intense radio bursts with an unknown origin.

The bursts were recorded by scientists during a period of three weeks during the summer of 2018 while the CHIME was not out of its "pre-commissioning phase".

Theories include a neutron star that has a strong magnetic field spinning rapidly, the merging of two neutron stars and even alien spaceships.

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The first FRB was discovered in 2007, although it was actually observed some six years earlier, in archival data from a pulsar survey of the Magellanic Clouds. The previous record of lowest-frequency FRB was of 700 megahertz. "We estimate that there are up to 1,000 of these bursts in the entire sky every day", corresponding author Shriharsh Tendulkar of McGill University said in an email.

As for the new repeater, it's called FRB 180814.J0422+73.

But they have remained entirely mysterious, with little evidence at all of where they might be coming from. "We don't know the precise distance to the second one yet".

"We have discovered a second repeater and its properties are very similar to the first repeater". Most probably these bursts are the most exciting to the scientists who have now been repeated for six times and nearly all seems to be exploded from the similar locations.

The telescope has been in use for only a year, detecting 13 of the radio bursts nearly immediately, including the repeater. "We have not solved the problem, but it's several more pieces in the puzzle". "In principle, there might be two separate types of sources, as in the case of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), where long-duration GRBs (lasting more than a few seconds) are linked to the collapse of massive stars and short-duration GRBs are linked to mergers of neutrons stars".

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