Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy | 2016 Mar 02
New observations provide strong evidence for multiple populations of Fast Radio Bursts
An international research team including astronomers from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR) in Bonn, Germany, has discovered the first source of repeating bursts of radio waves which is located well beyond our Milky Way galaxy. Fast radio bursts (FRBs), lasting just a few thousandths of a second, have puzzled scientists since they were first reported nearly a decade ago. The findings indicate that these “fast radio bursts” come from an extremely powerful object which occasionally produces multiple bursts in under a minute. ...
- The 305-m Arecibo telescope and its suspended support platform of radio receivers is shown amid a starry night. From space, a sequence of millisecond-duration radio flashes are racing towards the dish, where they will be reflected and detected by the radio receivers. Such radio signals are called fast radio bursts, and Arecibo is the first telescope to see repeat bursts from the same source. (Credit: Danielle Futselaar)
Until now most theories about the origin of these mysterious pulses have involved cataclysmic incidents that destroy their source – a star exploding in a supernova, for example, or a neutron star collapsing into a black hole. That changed last November, when McGill University PhD student Paul Scholz was sifting through results from these monitoring observations and found 10 more bursts. “The repeat signals were surprising – and very exciting,” Scholz says. “I knew immediately that the discovery would be extremely important in the study of FRBs.”
This finding suggests that these bursts must have come from an exotic object, such as a rotating neutron star having unprecedented power that enables the emission of extremely bright pulses, the researchers say. It is also possible that the finding represents the first discovery of a sub-class of the cosmic FRB population. ...
Intriguingly, the most likely implication of the new Arecibo finding – that the repeating FRB originates from a young extragalactic neutron star – is seemingly at odds with the results of a study published last week in Nature by another research team, where Bonn researchers were also involved. That paper suggested FRBs are related to cataclysmic events, such as short gamma-ray bursts, which cannot generate repeat events. Both findings together strongly imply that there are at least two different kinds of FRB sources. ...
Mysterious Cosmic Radio Bursts Found to Repeat
Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON) | McGill University | 2016 Mar 02
Mysterious Cosmic Radio Bursts are Found to Repeat
West Virginia University | 2016 Mar 03
A Repeating Fast Radio Burst - L. G. Spitler et al
- Nature (online 02 Mar 2016) DOI: 10.1038/nature17168
arXiv.org > astro-ph > arXiv:1603.00581 > 02 Mar 2016