Friday, 18 January, 2019

Scientists in Okanagan Valley detect radio bursts from distant galaxy

A globuler cluster of stars captured by the Hubble telescope A globuler cluster of stars captured by the Hubble telescope
Theresa Hayes | 12 January, 2019, 14:28

The telescope is protected in a federally, legally enforced zone of no manmade radio signals, to ensure that the ordinary interferences that cause false observations are omitted.

One of the astronomers involved in the discovery, Deborah Good, said to Nature that they do not have almost enough data to even begin explaining what makes FRBs. Some have proposed explanations, such as energy being flung as black holes tear stars apart, or perhaps even distant alien civilizations sending out long-range signals in the hopes of finding intelligent life. The first paper describes 13 new bursts, of which one, described in detail in the second paper, is a repeater, making it the second-recorded repeater ever.

The scientists recorded the bursts during a three-week period between July and August of 2018 while CHIME was still in a "pre-commissioning phase".

Team member Dr Arun Naidu, a space physicist at McGill University in Montreal, said: "Whatever the source of these radio waves is it's interesting to see how wide a range of frequencies it can produce".

The latest round of results brings the total number of FRBs detected up to around 60, a decade after scientists began looking for them.

Stairs said that with CHIME, "mapping the entire northern hemisphere every day, we're bound to find more repeaters over time".

"Different emission mechanisms expect that FRBs will be emitted within a certain range of radio frequencies, much like a light bulb can not emit X-rays or a microwave oven can not emit ultraviolet light", Tendulkar told Gizmodo. Whatever the photons pass through, that interaction is recorded in the radio waves and can be "translated" after it's received by the telescope. These effects vary with frequency, and many of them become stronger at lower frequencies.

These repeating signals have a lower frequency.

"We don't see these kinds of structures from other fast radio bursts that are in a single burst", said Tendulkar. It came six times from the same location, 1.5 billion light-years away.

This is only the second time that fast radio bursts have been detected.

The most likely explanation is that they were created by powerful objects in space.

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

Petroff was also surprised that CHIME found so many FRBs so quickly. While it was waiting to come fully online, it picked up these 13 FRBs.

"The environment of the FRB has a much larger effect on the shape of the signals at long wavelengths", said Good. That tells us something about the environments and the sources.

"An FRB emitted from a merger of two neutron stars, or a neutron star and a black hole, for example, can not repeat".

As explained above, FRBs remain a largely unexplained phenomenon, and astronomers appear no closer to deciphering it.

But the things here are still the same mysterious as they had been before but there somehow are basic evidences which gives the idea about from where such explosions might have been coming from.

They found that one of the FRBs was repeating. "We have not solved the problem, but it's several more pieces in the puzzle".