Detecting hundreds of mysterious radio wave explosions in space

Researchers have detected hundreds of mysterious fast radio bursts (FSBs) in space using the CHIME telescope in Canada.

The antenna system of the CHIME telescope, which detected 535 FRBs in a year of operation. Photo: CNN

According to CNN, the origin of these few milliseconds (ms) long luminous bursts has not been determined because they occur suddenly and disappear quickly. Scientists first observed the FSB in 2007. Over the next decade, they recorded only about 140 explosions across the universe.

Explaining the FRB’s elusiveness, Kiyoshi Masui, Associate Professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said: “You have to put the aiming radio telescope in the right place and at the right time. You can’t predict where and when they will happen.”

Most radio telescopes can only see a sky the size of the Moon. This means that the vast majority of FRBs have been missed. However, things have changed since the CHIME telescope located in British Columbia (Canada) started operating in 2018 and received a series of radio waves in space.

CHIME uses an all-digital design and has a correlator, a digital signal processor to capture incoming radio signals. It can transmit large amounts of data – about 7 terabits per second, or the equivalent of a small percentage of global internet traffic.

This stationary radio telescope, fully known as the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Radio Telescope Experiment (CHIME), detected 535 new fast radio bursts between from 2018 to 2019.

Thanks to that, experts have compiled a list of CHIME’s FSBs and presented them at the 238th American Astronomical Society Meeting on June 9.

The above list not only expands on the number of known FRBs, but also enriches the wealth of information available about their location and properties. While most FSBs occur only once, there are 61 repeat bursts. The repeats appear differently. Each blink lasts a little longer than single bursts.

As these radio waves travel through space, they can encounter gas or plasma. This can distort waves, changing their characteristics and even their trajectory.

Many of the FSBs detected by CHIME have come from distant galaxies and are likely caused by intense energy sources.

According to the Baotintuc/CNN

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