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giftedviz.com January 19, 2019


‘Repeating’ radio waves from deep space baffle scientists

10 January 2019, 09:56 | Ross Houston

Mysterious radio signals from deep space detected

Scientists Find 13 Mysterious Deep Space Flashes Including 2nd Known'Repeater

A team of scientists behind a telescope located in BC's Okanagan Valley have found the second repeating fast radio burst (FRB) ever recorded, which they said provides new clues about the puzzling pulses of radio energy from far outside our own galaxy.

Image: The telescope detected the signals over a three week period during the summer.

The findings were presented during a meeting held by the American Astronomical Society in Seattle, Wash., on Thursday. A lucky moment in 2015 resulted in the detection of multiple FRBs coming from the same location, which differs from random fast radio bursts that appear isolated in different locations. But for only the second time, they have now found one that repeats itself, making it more likely that we might find out where they come from.

Although scientists have some theories about what causes the so-called repeating fast radio bursts (FRBs) and their origin, exact details are still unknown.

Having two sets of repeating bursts could also allow scientists to understand what distinguishes them from single bursts, helping them understand more about their source and watch for future blasts.

CHIME, which is short for Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment, is a type of interferometric radio telescope featuring half-cylinder dishes that observe the same section of sky every day.

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"The fact that the bursts are repeated rules out any cataclysmic models in which the source is destroyed while generating the burst", he added. "We would like to know what kinds of objects these are and how they are related to other explosions and objects that we know of (gamma-ray bursts, supernovae, neutron stars etc)", Tendulkar said. They're milliseconds in length and are typically thought to come from powerful space shit like black holes or super-dense neutron stars, but some researchers reckon they could even be evidence of advanced alien civilisations.

More than 60 bursts have been catalogued since 2007, but only one other - observed in 2012 at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico - was a repeater.

The CHIME researchers are working with an array of antennas in central New Mexico to pin down the galaxy to which the second repeater belongs.

CHIME, a radio telescope, was designed and built by scientists at the University of British Columbia, McGill University, the University of Toronto, the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, and the National Research Council of Canada.

"Whatever the source of these radio waves is, it's interesting to see how wide a range of frequencies it can produce". 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.

"[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", said Tom Landecker, a CHIME team member. "We haven't solved the problem, but it's several more pieces in the puzzle".



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