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Space & Astronomy

Fast radio burst is traced back to its source

By T.K. Randall
November 5, 2020 · Comment icon 2 comments

At least some FRBs are now thought to be produced by magnetars. Image Credit: ESO / L. Calcada
For the first time, astronomers have traced a fast radio burst (or FRB) back to its original source - a magnetar.
Fast radio bursts, which last mere milliseconds yet generate as much energy as the Sun does in an entire day, have remained something of an enigma since their discovery back in 2007.

Now at last, we may be on the verge of explaining what is producing these phenomena thanks to a team of astronomers who have pinpointed the source of a burst that was detected back in April.

Using data from two separate observatories in North America, the team managed to trace the burst back to a magnetar - a highly magnetized dead star - situated 30,000 light years away.
A type of neutron star, these dense, compact objects have magnetic fields trillions of times more intense than that of the Earth.

The fast radio burst itself lasted a mere fraction of a second but was highly luminous.

"Given the source distance, this is the most luminous radio burst ever detected in our own galaxy," said Daniele Michilli, who is one of the team working at British Columbia's Chime telescope.

"The luminosity is still lower than that of fast radio bursts (coming from outside our Milky Way), but it demonstrates that magnetars can release a huge amount of radio energy with properties like those of FRBs, implying that at least [some] FRBs are probably coming from magnetars."

Source: BBC News | Comments (2)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Jake The Dog 3 years ago
That's good
Comment icon #2 Posted by Rolci 3 years ago
Astrophysics still being in its infancy in 2020. What's new? The funny thing is, they are so clueless, they're still lead by observation first. First they have to see something to know it exists, and even then they struggle to explain it. If they knew their stuff they would be able to PREDICT the existence of such phenomena as FRBs even BEFORE the first observation. After all, given the laws of the universe being what they are, it follows that FRBs must NECESSARILY exist. In a universe of cause and effect, they are the direct product of preceding causes - indeed, they are the ONLY outcome pos... [More]

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