Revolutionary radio telescope detects bevy of fast radio bursts

10 January, 2019, 09:55 | Author: Tara Reeves
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He said: "Until now, there was only one known repeating FRB".

The findings were announced by Deborah Good, an astronomer at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Washington on Wednesday. Most of the bursts that scientists detect come from a spot in space that never produces another such signal. It was one of 13 new FRBs the team detected during three weeks in the summer of 2018.

With CHIME, this concept for telescope design comes of age and is being used for breakthrough science to detect FRBs.

Since the first discovery a decade earlier, roughly 60 bursts have been observed by five different telescopes worldwide.

A fantastically bright repeating radio signal from billions of light-years away has been discovered, only the second of its kind ever found. Scientists now believe these signals are much more common than previously thought.

Another interesting twist has to do with the radio frequencies of the newly detected bursts. Seeing two repeating signals probably means that there exists - and that humanity will probably find - a "substantial population" of repeating signals, the researchers write in one of the two papers published in Nature.

Mysterious repeated blasts of radio signals tracked from deep space have been detected by Canadian astronomers.

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

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Constructed in British Columbia, CHIME is composed of 4, 100-meter long half-pipe cylinders of metal mesh which reconstruct images of the sky by processing the radio signals recorded by more than a thousand antennas.

"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", he said.

A number of speculations have been made about what could be causing the radio bursts - with theories ranging from stars exploding to alien life, however, currently, there is little evidence to prove either.

"Now we know that FRBs are detectable at 400 MHz, and should be detectable at even lower frequencies", Tendulkar said.

At distances of billions of light years it's obviously very hard to test any of these theories, but detecting more FRBs, especially those that have a habit of repeating, could bring us closer to an explanation.

A majority of the intercepted fast radio bursts shows signs of "scattering", a phenomenon that reveals information about the environment where the radio waves originated from, Phys.org reported. "But it has to be in some special place tog I've us all the scattering that we see".

The CHIME/FRB Collaboration includes scientists from UBC and McGill as well as the University of Toronto, the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and the National Research Council of Canada.

To which he added: "CHIME is the most prolific FRB hunter in the world and we are looking forward to sharing new results in the upcoming months".

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