Since they were discovered for the first time in 2007, straight radio outbreaks (FRBs) have been a source of mystery for astronomers. In radio astronomy, this phenomenon refers to transient radio pulses coming from remote sources, which usually last for a few milliseconds on average. Despite detecting dozens of events since 2007, researchers are still not sure what causes them ̵
1; although theories range from exploding stars, black holes and magneters to foreign civilizations.
To cast light on this mysterious phenomenon, astronomers seek new instruments to search for and study FRB. One of these is the Canadian hydrogen intensity mapping experiment (CHIME), a revolutionary new radio telescope located at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory (DRAO) in British Columbia. On July 25, still in its first year, this telescope made its first discovery, an event called FRB 180725A.
The discovery of the FRB 180725A was published online in a “Astronomers Telegram” mail designed to warn the astronomical community about possible new findings and encourage follow-up observations. The detection of FRB 180725A is very preliminary at this time and more research is needed before its existence as a FRB can be confirmed.
As reported in the Astronomers Telegram message, the radio was detected July 25 at just 17:59: 43.115 UTC (09: 59.43.115 PST) and at a radio frequency of 400 MHz:
“The automatic pipeline triggered the recording to the disk in ~ 20 seconds buffered raw intensity data around time FRB. The event had an approximate width of 2 ms and was found at the dispersion measure 716.6 st / cm 3 with a signal to noise ratio S / N ~ 20.6 in a beam and 19.4 in These approximately 0.5 degrees wide and circular beams were at RA, Dec = (06: 13: 54,7, +67: 04: 00,1; J2000) and RA, Dec = (06: 12: 53.1, +67: 03: 59.1; J2000). “
Research on rapid radio outbreaks is still in its infancy, just over a decade old. The first one discovered was the famous Lorimer Burst, named after the discovery – Duncan Lorimer, from West Virginia University. This outbreak lasted only five milliseconds and seemed to come from a place near the Great Magellanic Cloud, billions of light years gone by.
So far, the only FRB that has been found repeats the mysterious signal called FRB 121102, discovered by the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico in 2012. The nature of this FRB was first noted by a team of students from McGill University (led by former PhD student Paul Scholz) as targeted by Arecibo data and determined that the first burst was followed by an additional burst in accordance with the original signal.
In addition to being the first time this Canadian facility discovered a possible FRB coming from space, the first time a FRB has been detected during the 700 MHz range. However, as the CHIME team indicates in their announcement, other signals of equal intensity may have occurred in the past, which are simply not recognized as FRBs at the time.
“Further FRB has been found since the FRB 180725A and some have flux at frequencies as low as 400 MHz,” they wrote. “These events have occurred during both day and night and their arrival times are not correlated with known on-site activities or other known sources of terrestrial Radio Frequency Identification.”
As a result, this latest discovery (if confirmed) can help astronomers shed some extra light on what causes FRB, not to mention any restrictions on the frequencies they may encounter. In the same way as the study of gravity waves, the study is new but rapidly growing and made possible by adding advanced instruments and facilities around the world.
Understand fast radio bursts