Telescope Detects Fast Radio Best Hitting Earth Every 16 Days

Telescope in Canada has found a source of mysterious fast radio bursts that repeat every 16 days, according to a new paper.

Fast radio bursts (FRB) are bright radio blips that originate from deep space. After the initial fast radio burst discovery in 2001, astronomers have found more of these events, at first sporadically and now more frequently with the help of the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment Fast Radio Burst (CHIME/FRB) Project. Last year, CHIME/FRB reported finding eight new sources of FRBs, including this repeating one, which is located in a relatively nearby spiral galaxy. They had enough data to more or less rule out that the periodicity was due to coincidence. CHIME is a radio telescope in southern British Columbia consisting of four half-cylinders laid side by side, acting as fixed antennae to map the sky. CHIME is designed to map the emission from hydrogen, the universe’s most abundant element, thanks to its wide field of view and the broad range of electromagnetic radiation frequencies it can capture.

For years, astronomers have struggled to understand the source of fast radio bursts, powerful…The mere presence of periodicity in this FRB might give cluesinto what object could be producing it, according to the paper. Perhaps whatever is producing the radio bursts forms a binary with another celestial body, though the current data doesn’t reveal the identity of the FRB or the companion. Perhaps the object is a rotating magnetar, a kind of compact, magnetized neutron star—though the researchers point out that magnetars typically have rotation periods of less than 12 seconds, far shorter than the 16 days recorded here.