Science

Repeating Deep Space Radio Signals Baffle Scientists

Repeating Deep Space Radio Signals Baffle Scientists

"When we reported previous year that one of these objects was repeating, that - in one go - knocked out about half of those models, because for this one source, at least, we knew it couldn't be explosive". Their fleeting action makes them difficult to catch and makes it harder for astronomers to pinpoint their exact source.

While it is possible that these one-off scenarios also produce such bursts, all of them are inconsistent with multiple pulses such as those generated by FRB 121102. "Lots of stars, lots of galaxies, lots of stuff", he said, which made the search hard.

From the above observation, the scientist has tracked the source of this radio flasher and identified that the FRB was coming from a dwarf galaxy located about 3 billion light-years away. Additional observations of the burst were also taken with telescopes belonging to the European VLBI Network, including the 100-meter (330 feet) Effelsberg radio telescope in Germany.

Scientists have closed in on the source of some mysterious cosmic fast radio bursts (FRBs).

But previous year, a team of astronomers announced that one FRB, named 121102 (code for the date it was first recorded), seemed to be bursting repeatedly.

FRB 121102 was pinpointed using the Very Large Array (VLA), a multi-antenna radio telescope operated by the US National Science Foundation.

A FRB is a high-energy radio pulse that lasts fractions of a second. One is that they are caused by black holes consuming gases, another is that they occur in the wake of stars exploding, but no one knows for sure.

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The first break came in 2012, when the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico detected the first-ever repeating FRB, dubbed FRB 121102 (after the date of the first detection, November 02, 2012). "With the Gemini telescope, this optical blob looks like a faint, faint, faint galaxy - and this faint, fuzzy blob corresponds with, smack onto, the radio source", Chatterjee said.

An global team of researchers has now used a network of radio telescopes to work out where in the universe they are coming from. Using that data, astronomers then used the Gemini North Telescope in Hawaii to get a visible-light image of the region.

So Chaterjee and his colleagues used the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array in New Mexico with the hope of catching another one of its outbursts in a larger scope. "That's surprising. One would generally expect most FRBs to come from large galaxies which have the largest numbers of stars and neutron stars - remnants of massive stars". Four additional bursts from the same source were found on 20 September 2016 by the EVN, which, along with data from the Arecibo dish, helped provide an even more precise localization within the galaxy, according to a paper published today in Astrophysical Journal Letters. That alone was instructive: FRBs (or this one, at least) must not be the result of cataclysmic events, since something was still around to send the repeated signals. FRB 121102 is not alone.

"This phenomenon is so well-tuned to explore the universe".

"We think that the bursts and the continuous source are likely to be either the same object or that they are somehow physically associated with each other", Benito Marcote, a research at the of the Joint Institute for VLBI ERIC in the Netherlands, said in a statement.

In order to release such energy, astronomers believe that fast radio bursts are caused by neutron stars - small, dense stars left over after a supernova.


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