Scientists detect mysterious radio signals in space

In a resounding endorsement of the novel telescope's capabilities, the repeating FRB was one of a total of 13 bursts detected over a period of just three weeks during the summer of 2018 - a time when CHIME was in its pre-commissioning phase and running at only a fraction of its full capacity.

A telescope in Canada picked up mysterious signals emanating from a distant galaxy.

Good and McGill University astrophysicist Victoria Kaspi discussed the CHIME/FRB Collaboration's findings during a briefing at the American Astronomical Society's winter meeting in Seattle.

The signals consist of 13 fast radio bursts, known as "FRBs". But for only the second time, they have now found one that repeats itself, making it more likely that we might find out where they come from.

Scientists at the MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research are part of a team that has discovered 13 fast radio bursts (FRBs), as well as the second repeating FRB ever recorded, using a revolutionary radio telescope.

"And with more repeaters and more sources available for study, we may be able to understand these cosmic puzzles - where they're from and what causes them".

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CHIME, which is short for Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment, is a type of interferometric radio telescope featuring half-cylinder dishes that observe the same section of sky every day. The second repeater is much closer than the first one, but the pattern of emissions appears to be similar - "which is interesting", Kaspi said. Knowing that there is another suggests that there could be more out there. The mystery about why these bursts happen and where they come from continues, which always spurs believers to think that advanced extraterrestrial civilizations are creating them. "Or near the central black hole in a galaxy".

Like the previous repeater, detected in 2012, CHIME's FRB rules out the possibility that the bursts are coming from "cataclysmic events".

A number of speculations have been made about what could be causing the radio bursts - with theories ranging from stars exploding to alien life, however, currently, there is little evidence to prove either. The unexpectedly low 400 MHz frequency suggests FRBs might be detected at even lower frequencies, but another instrument would have to be used for that, as this is as low as CHIME can go.

The majority of the FRBs discovered by the telescope showed signs of "scattering", Phys.org reported - which led the CHIME team to believe the radio bursts are "powerful astrophysical objects".

The CHIME team, which designed and built the telescope, includes 14 scientists from the University of B.C. alongside others from McGill University, the University of Toronto, the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and the National Research Council of Canada.

At distances of billions of light years it's obviously very hard to test any of these theories, but detecting more FRBs, especially those that have a habit of repeating, could bring us closer to an explanation.

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