In October researchers used a radio telescope in Australia to almost double the number of known fast radio bursts.

They only last a few milliseconds before disappearing and come from distance places in the known universe.

Some have suggested that these radio waves might not be natural, and could come from advanced alien races. Data recorded several years earlier by the Parkes Radio Telescope in Australia showed a fleeting but powerful radio emission coming from an unidentified source in space.

9 in the online edition of the journal Nature.

In total, 13 individual bursts were detected by Canada's radio telescope, the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME), over a period of three weeks in 2018.

The other institutions with leading roles are the University of Toronto, the National Research Council of Canada, and the Perimeter Institute. "There are some models where intrinsically the source can't produce anything below a certain frequency".

Most of the FRBs previously detected had been found at frequencies near 1,400 MHz, well above the CHIME's range of 400 MHz to 800 MHz.

The CHIME arXiv paper explained that "the output of the dedispersion transform is a 5D array of signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs), to which we apply a tunable threshold ... to identify candidate events for processing by subsequent stages of the pipeline". "It could be a start to a whole new field in astronomy".

"It is extremely, extremely unlikely", Tendulkar said.

Though scientists don't yet have an explanation for fast radio bursts, the latest signals reveal significant levels of "scattering" - details that could help scientists better characterize the nature of the astrophysical environs from which they originate. It's easier, therefore, to measure and understand these effects at lower frequencies.

As for the new repeater, it's called FRB 180814.J0422+73.

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FRBs are not rare, as about 60 have been catalogued since 2007, but only one has been a repeating FRB so far, opening up debate as to what causes them.

Stairs credits the discoveries to an "amazing team" of post-doctoral researchers and is confident more findings are on the horizon.

But it was so temporary and seemingly random that it took years for astronomers to agree it wasn't a glitch in one of the telescope's instruments.

He said: "Until now, there was only one known repeating FRB". "But I think we're reaching the peak of that mountain".

Petroff was also surprised that CHIME found so many FRBs so quickly.

We'd rather it just straight up be aliens though.

"We have discovered a second repeater and its properties are very similar to the first repeater".

The CHIME researchers are working with an array of antennas in central New Mexico to pin down the galaxy to which the second repeater belongs.

However, some people chose to keep an open mind to the possibilities. The first FRB that repeats was detected in 2012.

Tendulkar told Gizmodo that there's still plenty of work to be done, both in terms of detecting and characterising FRBs. "It gives us a lot more information".


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