Appearance of Mysterious FRBs in our galaxy?

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Recently, the appearance of Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) have perplexed the astronomers. This astrophysical discovery represents the origination of short radio waves entering our galaxy form neighboring galaxy that are as far as billions of light-years. Astronomers can’t figure out their origination and are definitely in search of any clue in order to investigate the properly. The FRSs has occurred almost 60 times, and only one of the observed FRBs were repetitive from single source.

Astronoers from Okanagan Valley, British Columbia detected the second repetitive FRB using Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) radio telescope and reported this incidence on January 9, 2019 in collaboration with McGill University. The findings were discussed in Seattle on American Astronomical Society panel and were published two peer-reviewed papers– Nature.

Second repeating radio burst
Image Credit: Danielle Futselaar

Over a timespan of three weeks, 13 FRB were counted during summer 2018 and more were recorded in later weeks.

The repetitive FRB from single source are thought to be more exciting than FRB recorded from general source only once. In 2015, the FRB was recorded using the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico. in 2015. Ingrid Stairs, CHIME team member and also an astrophysicist at the University of British Columbia (UBC) stated that:

Until now, there was only one known repeating FRB. Knowing that there is another suggests that there could be more out there. And with more repeaters and more sources available for study, we may be able to understand these cosmic puzzles – where they’re from and what causes them.

Canada’s CHIME radio telescope in the Okanagan Valley
Canada’s CHIME radio telescope in the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia. Image Credit: CHIME

CHIME results obtained from 13 outburts of 2015 were found to be in frequency lower than 400 MHz. However, before them the most FRBs found were close to before 1400 megahertz (MHz), while the telescopeic range at that times were from 400-800 MHz. Thereby, the newly observed FRB are lowest frequencies recorded by CHIME and astronomers believe even lesser frequency FRBs could be found.

Does the new observed FRBs really matter?

The cause and source of these FRBs are unknown and needed to be figured out. But somehow astronomers believe the appearance of the Fast Radio Bursts certainly involve neutron stars or black holes or could be aliens sending signals from other galaxies. According to Arun Naidu from McGill University:

Whatever the source of these radio waves is, it’s interesting to see how wide a range of frequencies it can produce. There are some models where intrinsically the source can’t produce anything below a certain frequency.

In 2007 Duncan Lorimer Discocerved the first FRB using FRB 121102 when his students were looking forward to discover any archival pulsar survey data.

To this Tom Landecker, member of CHIME team from the National Research Council of Canada, stated:

[We now know] the sources can produce low-frequency radio waves and those low-frequency waves can escape their environment, and are not too scattered to be detected by the time they reach the Earth. That tells us something about the environments and the sources. We haven’t solved the problem, but it’s several more pieces in the puzzle.

Further Kendrick Smith, a cosmologist from Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario added to these statement as:

FRBs were an unexpected mystery. There aren’t so many qualitative mysteries in astrophysics. So explaining their nature has become one of the biggest unsolved problems in astrophysics in the last few years.

CHIME as an exclusively designed radio telescope and is built by Canadian astronomers, Smith explained that:

CHIME reconstructs the image of the overhead sky by processing the radio signals recorded by thousands of antennas with a large signal processing system. CHIME’s signal processing system is the largest of any telescope on Earth, allowing it to search huge regions of the sky simultaneously.

First FRB 121102
Image Credit: Gemini Observatory/AURA/NSF/NRC.

Most astronomers believe that there must be any natural source behind the appearance of these FRBs, while the source is difficult to discover. Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at the SETI Institute, stated that the difficult to find out its source is too high as these FRBs appear to come from all over the sky, such as galaxies that are billions of light-years apart.

But you can safely bet that aliens are not the cause of FRBs. Why? The bursters are seen all over the sky, that’s why. The same sort of signal is coming from galaxies that are generally separated by billions of light-years. So how could aliens organize so much of the universe to engage in broadcasting the same sort of signal? There’s hardly been enough time since the Big Bang to coordinate such widespread teamwork, even if you can think of a reason for it!

There could be aliens involved in sending these FRBs as signal. Occam’s razor a scientist, suggested that FRBs are definite natural origin, however, the cause is needed to be discovered.

Bottom line: FRBs till now were considered as mysterious phenomenon, however the invention of telescopes like CHIME, has helped scientists to figure out more new and exotic FRBs, regardless of their unidentified source.

Source: Observations of fast radio bursts at frequencies down to 400 megahertz

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