Although scientists have some theories about what causes the so-called repeating fast radio bursts (FRBs) and their origin, exact details are still unknown.
Scientists do not know what causes fast radio bursts, though they have been speculated to be caused by a neutron star with a very strong magnetic field that is spinning very rapidly, two neutron stars colliding, or by some type of alien spacecraft.
In a new paper published Wednesday in Nature, researchers reveal that a recently unveiled radio telescope in British Columbia - the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) - captured 13 more FRBs, but more importantly, it caught a second repeating FRB.
The mysterious repetitive radio burst originated from a galaxy located at about 1.5 billion light years away from us and had been detected using the Okanagan Valley's Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) radio telescope.
The bursts were recorded by scientists during a period of three weeks during the summer of 2018 while the CHIME was not out of its "pre-commissioning phase". "Now we're showing, no, at least one other repeats". "Instead it uses digital signal processing to "point" the telescope and reconstruct where the radio waves are coming from", says Masui. This then ensures that the right theories are applied in order to understand them. Maybe it's black hole and neutron star collisions.
Supernovas, black holes, quasars - there are lots of odd, high-energy items out there in the universe, and who knows what happens when they combine?
Two researchers, combing the archives of the Parkes Observatory in Australia, found a radio signal the observatory recorded six years prior, but that nobody had noticed.
"So what we've shown is that by discovering a second FRB is that the repeating FRB is not unique and maybe we can hope to find more", he said in the video interview.
Shriharsh Tendulkar, an astronomer from the McGill Space Institute and a co-author of the new study, said radio frequencies help scientists understand possible emission mechanisms, or processes, of FRBs, and also the effects that the radio waves encounter as they travel through space. "Our data will break open some of the mysteries of FRBs".
These 13 FRBs, which include the repeater, were detected on a much lower frequency than had been detected before. That suggests there might be even more of them, too low to be picked up by telescopes. "But it has to be in some special place to give us all the scattering that we see", said Ng. FRB's were first detected accidentally in 2007, when a burst signal was spotted in radio astronomy data collected in 2001.
Tom Landecker, CHIME team member from the National Research Council of Canada.