Science

Astronomers reveal new and puzzling properties of mysterious quick radio emissions

Newswise – Quick Radio Bursts (FRBs) are cosmic explosions lasting milliseconds, every of which produces vitality equal to the annual output of the solar. Greater than 15 years after the primary discovery of deep house pulses of electromagnetic radio waves, their wonderful nature continues to shock scientists – and newly revealed analysis solely provides to the thriller surrounding them.

Within the September 21 challenge of the journal Naturesurprising new observations of a number of cosmic radio wave sequence by a world workforce of researchers—together with UNLV astrophysicist Bing Zhang—problem the prevailing understanding of the bodily nature and central engine of FRBs.

Cosmic FRB observations had been made in late spring 2021 utilizing the huge 5 Hundred Meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST) in China. The workforce, led by Heng Xu, Kejia Lee, Subo Dong of Peking College, and Weiwei Zhu of the Nationwide Astronomical Observatory of China, together with Zhang, detected 1,863 bursts over 82 hours over 54 days from an energetic quick radio supply referred to as the FRB. 20201124A.

“That is the biggest pattern of FRB information with polarization data from a single supply,” Lee stated.

Latest observations of a quick radio burst from our Milky Manner galaxy counsel that it originated in a magnetar, a dense city-sized neutron star with an extremely highly effective magnetic subject. In distinction, the origin of very distant cosmological quick radio bursts stays unknown. And the newest observations have scientists questioning what they thought they knew about them.

“These observations introduced us again to the drafting board,” stated Zhang, who can be the founding director of UNLV’s Nevada Heart for Astrophysics. “It’s clear that FRBs are extra mysterious than we’ve got imagined. Extra multi-wavelength observing campaigns are wanted to additional reveal the character of those objects.

The most recent observations shock scientists with the irregular, short-term variations within the so-called Faraday rotation measure, which is the energy of the magnetic subject and the density of particles close to an FRB supply. The variations rose and fell throughout the first 36 days of statement and stopped abruptly over the past 18 days earlier than the supply went out.

“I liken it to capturing a film round an FRB supply, and our film revealed a posh, dynamically evolving, magnetized surroundings that has by no means been imagined earlier than,” Zhang stated. “This type of surroundings will not be instantly anticipated for an remoted magnetar. There could also be one thing else within the neighborhood of the FRB engine, maybe a binary companion,” Zhang added.

The workforce additionally used the 10-meter Keck telescopes on Mauna Kea in Hawaii to look at the FRB’s host galaxy. Younger magnetars are thought to reside in energetic star-forming areas of a star-forming galaxy, however the optical picture of the host galaxy exhibits that the host galaxy is unexpectedly a metal-rich barred spiral galaxy like our Milky Manner, Zhang says. . The placement of the FRB is in a area the place there isn’t any important star formation.

“This location is inconsistent with a younger magnetic central engine shaped in an excessive explosion, equivalent to a protracted gamma-ray burst or superluminous supernova, which is extensively alleged to be the progenitor of energetic FRB engines,” Dong stated.

Launch particulars

The examine, “The supply of a quick radio burst in a posh magnetized web site barred galaxy,” was revealed within the journal Sept. 21. Nature and consists of 74 co-authors from 30 establishments. Along with UNLV, Peking College, and the Nationwide Astronomical Observatories of China, collaborating establishments embrace the Purple Mountain Observatory, Yunnan College, UC Berkeley, Caltech, Princeton College, the College of Hawaii, and different establishments from China, the US, Australia, Germany, and Israel. .

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