An international team of astronomers has detected a second, continuously active, fast radio burst, raising questions about the nature of the mysterious phenomena.
fast radio blasts (FRBs) are short, intense flashes of radio frequency emissions, lasting within milliseconds. This phenomenon was discovered in 2007 by graduate student David Narkevich and his supervisor Duncan Lorimer. The source of these highly energetic events is a mystery, but gradually evidence of their nature is being gathered.
The new source, the 20190520B fast radio burst, was detected using the 500-meter aperture spherical radio telescope (FAST) in Guizhou, China, on May 20, 2019, and a new study found in data released in November of that year. (Opens in a new tab)reports.
Follow up notes by Jansky’s collection is too big A Caltech-led (VLA) program has found weaker and constant radio emissions associated with FRB, also allowing for Subaru telescope In Hawaii to determine the source to be within the limbs of the dwarf galaxy Approximately 3 billion light-years from a land.
Related: ‘Radio colors’ from mysterious deep space flashes reveal a lone stellar corpse as a source
Notably, it is the second time a FRB repeat has been discovered to be associated with a fixed radio source (PRS), following the localization of FRB 121102 in 2012.
“The biggest surprise to me was the realization that the new FRB appears to be the perfect twin of an earlier discovery,” Casey Law, a Caltech astronomer and co-author who led the VLA program, told Space.com.
“Some might have preferred to say that the first such association was [between an FRB and radio source] It was a coincidence, because it was difficult to explain. Now the second example shows that this is a real and crucial part of the life of the FRB. “
The discovery raises new questions about the nature of FRBs, such as whether sources of FRBs evolve over time, or alternatively whether different types of sources are capable of emitting FRBs.
“One of the key questions in the field of FRBs is whether all FRBs replicate,” said Di Li, of the National Astronomical Observatories of China (NAOC) and leader of the Radio Astronomy Rapid Survey (CRAFTS) that discovered FRB 190520B. Space.com via email. “Personally, I prefer the evolutionary picture in terms of the frequency of all sources, but the level of activity drops off sharply as the source ages. Since FRB 20190520B is only second of about 500 known FRBs that have so-called PRS isotopes and they are both very active, they can, in This hypothetical evolutionary picture, the representation of young FRBs, that doesn’t last very long.”
Another special feature of FRB 190520B is its scattering measurement, which indicates that its emissions passed through the highest electron density of any FRB before they were observed on Earth. This indicates that FRB is active in a local plasma environment, such as that generated by a Supernovaa newly created resource.
While providing insight into the environment of FRB 190520B, the large discrepancy in the dispersal measurements with other FRBs calls into question their use as ‘cosmological metrics’ for measuring distances.
Franz Kirsten, a postdoctoral researcher at the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON) and Chalmers University in Sweden who was not involved in the research, told Space.com that the evolutionary path of FRBs is possible, but with only these two sources, it’s hard to say.
“We need to find more and constrain this evolutionary stage model. We really need more at different ages to say OK, this thing fades all the time,” Kirsten said. “What would be really cool to see is if these persistent sources really fade over time, say, 10 to 20 years. The possibility.”
To pursue this research, co-author Yu Wenfei with the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory told Space.com that “the mechanisms responsible for measuring the additional scattering and near-source environment of such frequent FRBs with PRS correlation are outstanding problems to pursue and solve.”
“I am optimistic that the FRB mystery will be resolved by investigating such extreme FRBs,” Yu said.
Di also sees high value in discovering more frequent FRB sources, along with trying to get a much better picture of the environments in which they occur, for example using Hubble Space Telescope To follow up on the notes.
Collaboration between astronomers and facilities around the world will be crucial to finding, localizing and characterizing these mysterious phenomena, as was the case in the case of FRB 190520B.
the study (Opens in a new tab) Published online in Nature today (8 June).
Follow us on Twitter Tweet embed (Opens in a new tab) or on Facebook (Opens in a new tab).