Fast Radio Bursts Traced Back To Their Source

A naturally occurring radio signal, known as fast radio bursts, emitted by astronomical objects and discovered in 2019, has been traced back to its source galaxy, making it the fifth signal tracked by astronomers. What surprised the astronomers is the location of the signal. They may have changed their beliefs concerning how these signals are produced.

Recently found fast radio bursts came from a distant galaxy

These newly tracked fast radio bursts (FRBs) are flashes of light radiation from beyond our galaxy, a spiral galaxy, located 500 million light-years from Earth. The newly traced FRB is the closest known source of radio signal so far. The FRBs are emanating from a region that’s alive with star formation, located at seven light-years across.

“This object’s location is radically different from that of not only the previously located repeating FRB but also all previously studied FRBs,” said astronomer Kenzie Nimmo of the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. “This blurs the differences between repeating and non-repeating fast radio bursts. It may be that FRBs are produced in a large zoo of locations across the Universe and just require some specific conditions to be visible.”

FRBs are amongst the mysteries of the Universe, being impossible to predict and extremely brief. Radio telescopes can detect these electromagnetic spikes radiation for just a few milliseconds. However, as time passes, they can discharge more energy than 500 million Suns. These extremely brief FRBs are tough to be traced, only three signals having their origin localized to a galaxy.

Scientists part of the CHIME experiment in Canada, have discovered in 2019, eight new repeating FRBs. Therefore, bringing the number of known repeaters to a total of ten. Astronomers have now traced the original FRB 180916.J0158+65 radio signal.

Scientists traced the signal

Astronomers have tracked down the signal for five hours, and that led them to a typical spiral galaxy dubbed SDSS J015800.28+654253.0. On the other hand, the three other non-repeating FRBs were found in much more standard galaxies, only one of them was near a star-forming region.

FRB 180916.J0158+65 was not as distorted by the Faraday effect as the first repeating fast radio burst to be localized, dubbed FRB 121102. For better understanding, the Faraday effect occurs when electromagnetic radiation interacts with a magnetic field. This knowledge indicates that its location was not as magnetic, and it was found pretty far from the galactic center.

“The multiple flashes that we witnessed in the first repeating FRB arose from very particular and extreme conditions inside a very tiny (dwarf) galaxy,” said astronomer Benito Marcotte of the Joint Institute for VLBI ERIC. “This discovery represented the first piece of the puzzle, but it also raised more questions than it solved, such as whether there was a fundamental difference between repeating and non-repeating FRBs. Now, we have localized a second repeating FRB, which challenges our previous ideas on what the source of these bursts could be.”