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Mysterious radio burst repeats every 16 days

Posted on Tuesday, 11 February, 2020 | Comment icon 57 comments

Could a neutron star be producing the bursts ? Image Credit: Casey Reed - Penn State University
Astronomers have discovered the first known example of a fast radio burst that repeats in a steady cycle.
It's a phenomenon that has managed to defy explanation for years - powerful bursts of radio waves originating from far beyond our own galaxy that, despite lasting mere milliseconds, generate as much energy as the Sun does in an entire day.

Now a team of astrophysicists in Canada have discovered what is thought to be the first example of a fast radio burst (or FRB) that not only repeats, but does so in a steady cycle.

By studying data from the radio telescope used by the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment and cross-referencing it against earlier observations of the phenomenon, the scientists were able to determine that this particular FRB repeats on a cycle of 16 days.
Situated in a spiral galaxy over 500 million light years away, the source of the bursts could be some sort of celestial object in orbit around a distant star, however it remains unclear how such an object could be producing such high energy bursts so frequently.

While it seems unlikely than an answer will be forthcoming anytime soon, observations using more powerful telescopes in the future could help to finally unravel the mystery behind this phenomenon.

In the meantime, all we can really do is speculate.

Source: Phys.org | Comments (57)

Tags: Fast Radio Bursts

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #48 Posted by Rlyeh on 12 February, 2020, 10:20
Electromagnetic frequencies between 3 Hz and 300 GHz.  It includes micro waves.
Comment icon #49 Posted by Rlyeh on 12 February, 2020, 10:23
Radio waves are of the electromagnetic spectrum.  We are always being hit by them.
Comment icon #50 Posted by Tom1200 on 12 February, 2020, 10:45
Damien - you should worry more about the highly energetic particles inside your lungs that smash into your delicate tissues billions of times per second at speeds in excess of 1000 mph.  These diatomic covalent molecules are a major factor in rusting, oxidation and fires, and are just one atom short of forming highly toxic ozone: who knows what damage they're causing inside us?  You can't eliminate them completely, but I suggest you exhale forcibly as far as you can then seal up your facial orifices with thick tape to prevent them getting back in. The source of the emissions is about 500 milli... [More]
Comment icon #51 Posted by Habitat on 12 February, 2020, 11:11
That makes me think, is there any way of judging just how much light from that source, was in fact intercepted before it got to our vicinity ?
Comment icon #52 Posted by Tom1200 on 12 February, 2020, 11:30
I can't be certain about this particular source, but I know there are 'standard candles' - objects of very predictable luminosity which are used to measure distances to the galaxies.  I suppose you could analyse the light from one of these and compare it to predictions... that might tell you something.  (Where is WaspieDwarf when you need a proper scientific answer?  I bet he's out in his black exoskeleton and cape, fighting off viruses and stuff.) I find it awe-inspiring to think that a photon of light emitted from an electron millions of years ago can travel undisturbed for so long, then be ... [More]
Comment icon #53 Posted by S I N on 13 February, 2020, 16:44
 @Tom1200 that is Quote worthy right there
Comment icon #54 Posted by Noteverythingisaconspiracy on 13 February, 2020, 17:39
You are forgetting another vital task the aliens travel across interstellar distance to do: make circles in crops.
Comment icon #55 Posted by toast on 15 February, 2020, 8:49
Yes. As we have measured clear and repeating bursts from SEP2018 to OCT2019 at an interval of 16.35 (+/- 0.18) days from an object at a distance of 500M LYs to Earth, and there is no information available the frequency has scaled down (means, the distance has not shortened) or the transmission has stopped, we have to conclude the object was at the same distance to the Earth distance over a period of at least 2 month when all of the signals we have received so far have been transmitted. If we assume the Borgs started their trip to Earth after they gave the last ping in October of the year 499.9... [More]
Comment icon #56 Posted by toast on 15 February, 2020, 8:57
Because the alienz are idiots by birth. Yes, they travel in their flimsy, circular spaceships covered in flashing lights, cross similar distances using stupendously advanced science and technology, but they are always too stupid to manage a smooth touch down here on Earth, even in a flat desert without any traffic/buildings around. They always wreck their ships totally. Morons.
Comment icon #57 Posted by toast on 15 February, 2020, 9:06
If you throw a single snowball the snowball is still en-route after it was thrown.

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