Scientists detect mysterious radio signals in space

It was originally created to delve into the mystery surrounding dark matter by mapping the distribution of interstellar hydrogen, but it also turns out to be well-suited to take on the mystery surrounding fast radio bursts.

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

Astronomers from the University of British Columbia have picked up 13 radio burst signals emanating from an unknown source they claim is about 1.5 billion light years away. Before they were spotted over the summer, astronomers reportedly found between 50 and 60 examples of the radio bursts.

This sudden influx of tantalizing clues has made astrophysicists nearly giddy.

The new discovery, reported in the journal Nature, was made by a Canadian-led team of astronomers on the hunt for FRBs.

The remaining steps in the CHIME pipeline are L3 (flux estimation, source identification, extragalactic check, and an action decision); and L4 (action implementation, database operations to store header data, intensity data, and baseband data; offline analysis and a Web interface with alerts).

I think we're all secretly hoping it's aliens, and some experts think that's worth considering.

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Cornell University's Shami Chatterjee, a fellow FRB researcher, agreed: "This field is about to break wide open".

These radio bursts are only millisecond-long radio flashes, and such rapid bursts themselves aren't rare in space. They could be the result of magnetars, or rapidly spinning neutron stars that have been strongly magnetized. 400 Mhz is the lower limit of the CHIME experiment at the moment, so other FRBs at lower frequencies could simply be going undetected. Both have what Ng calls "structure" - distinctive patterns in the timing and frequency of the signals. "But we have to be careful".

Artist's impression of the active galactic nucleus shows the supermassive black hole at the center of the accretion disk sending a narrow high-energy jet of matter into space, perpendicular to the disc in this image by Science Communication Lab in Kiel Germany, released on July 12, 2018. The new signal is known as FRB 180814.J0422+73. One FRB in particular, FRB 121102, is special because it's the only one that seems to be repeating its signal blasts on a regular basis. Knowing that there is another suggests that there could be more out there.

In a Perimeter Institute video (below), Smith said the telescope generates an "avalanche of data, a hundred times more data than is generated by any other radio telescope".

But consecutive radio bursts are a special case. The first paper describes 13 new bursts, of which one, described in detail in the second paper, is a repeater, making it the second-recorded repeater ever. FRBs are among the few types of signal that interact with the diffuse fog of electrons that exists between galaxies. "They have yet to see FRBs, but there's a good chance that they will get to see them".

The search for FRBs has a simple motivation: so far, we have too few observations to settle on a cause for the phenomenon. But she says the promise is what keeps her working.

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