What Are Fast Radio Bursts?
Fast radio bursts (FRBs) are super intense, millisecond-long bursts of radio waves produced by unidentified sources in the distant cosmos.
Their discovery in 2007 by American astronomer Duncan Lorimer led to the term 'Lorimer Bursts'.
Since then just a few dozen similar events have been observed in data collected by radio telescopes around the world, building evidence that points to a variety of potential causes.
Only a handful of emissions have been traced to specific areas of the sky, indicating sources in other galaxies.
The flash of radio waves is incredibly bright, if distant, comparable to the power released by hundreds of millions of suns in just a few milliseconds.
The events were once considered to be largely transient – they seemed to happen once, without obvious signs of a repeat emission.
In fact, it was only in 2016 that astronomers found any evidence of multiple bursts from the same source.
A number of 'repeaters' have been identified since then, with some researchers venturing that many, if not all FRB sources could routinely emit bursts in sequences too difficult to detect using current instruments.
This hypothesis was supported when scientists reported in 2020 discovery that a FRB observed three years previously had since repeated faintly on two more recent occasions.
Shortly after this report, astronomers with the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) Collaboration published findings of the first FRB we know of that's repeating in a distinct pattern.
The FRB has a predictable pattern of hourly activity over the course of four days, followed by 12 days of quiet.
With much still to learn about FRBs, their mechanism is one of the biggest mysteries in modern astronomy.
Mysterious fast radio burst signal from space is repeating every 16 days
It’s been just revealed that somewhere in the universe, there’s a highly energetic Fast Radio Burst (FRB) that’s blasting from an unknown object.
Experts may be just one step closer to understand these mysterious signals, and the sky is bathed in radio waves.
There’s a new study on FRBs that has revealed the first one of these energetic signals that are repeating at regular intervals.
This is what could eventually give astronomers the necessary told that they need in order to analyze more in-depth the cosmic occurrences.
Ever since experts spotted the first FRB back in 2007, they have been the subject of intense speculation.
It’s important to note that these signals only last for a millisecond, and the power is extremely small here on our planet. Extreme Tech notes that the power can be compared to placing a cell phone call from the moon.
Also, the origins of FRBs are millions or billions of light-years away.
Newly discovered FRB repeats at regular intervals
The same online publication mentioned above notes that there’s a new analysis from the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment Fast Radio Burst Project (CHIME/FRB).
The team has found a repeating source called “FRB 180916.J0158+65” with a unique property. It repeats at regular intervals.
The team had used the CHIME array in British Columbia in order to scan for repeating FRBs between September 2018 and October 2019.
The online publication notes that the team detected signals from FRB 180916.J0158+65 during a four day period. The signals switched off for the following 12 days.
“Some of those cycles didn’t produce FRBs, but those that did were right in-line with the 16-day period,” Extreme Tech writes.
This FRB source is a crucial discovery for various reasons.
“It’s also relatively close at about half a billion light-years distant at the edge of a galaxy called SDSS J015800.28+654253.0,” the same online publication explains.
Source - Dualdove,