6 new fast radio bursts detected outside our galaxy

Last March, scientists detected 11 powerful bursts of radio signals originating from the same position in space, known as FRB 121102 after the first detected signal. Six new fast radio bursts (FRBs) have been detected outside our galaxy, coming from an unknown object about 3 billion light-years away.

Fast radio bursts (FRBs) are among the most explosive and mysterious signals ever detected from space. They only last a few milliseconds, but in that short time they generate as much energy as the Sun does in an entire day. So far, we have detected only a handful of these singular phenomena. First detected in 2007, the signal was so intense and strange that it took years for researchers to agree that it was a cosmological phenomenon and not the result of interference with other implements.

The researchers, whose research has been published in The Astrophysical Journal, estimate that around 2,000 of these bursts cross space each day, but it is proving complicated to point a telescope in the right place at the right time to detect them. After detecting the last signals in March, we believed that these bursts were just one-time events, coming from random places around from space. But the fact that such puffs can be repeated shows that the phenomenon which is at the origin of them is not destructive for the object in question. Note that the temporal distribution of these puffs is a little special, because following the first burst detected, the following two appeared on the same day on May 17, 2015 and the following 8 followed each other again during the same day, the June 2, 2015, separated between a few tens of seconds and nearly 10 minutes. The spectral distribution of the emissions is also very disparate with some bursts having a strong intensity at the lowest frequencies and others the opposite. Among these 6 new puffs, 4 appeared on the same day, November 19, 2015 in the space of 20 minutes, the other two having been detected a few days before and two weeks after.

For the time being, the researchers cannot position themselves on such and such an origin, the latter possibly being multiple, but the almost certain distance now and the repetitive nature of the phenomenon make the researchers lean towards an origin of the young strongly magnetized neutron star type. (or magnetar). They nevertheless hope to participate in future campaigns aimed at discovering more of these cosmic signatures and in this way finally revealing the sources responsible for these ubiquitous and mysterious events.


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