Astronomers reveal new features of mysterious fast radio bursts

More than 15 years have passed since the discovery of fast radio waves in deep space for the first time, and their bewildering nature continues to surprise scientists, and newly published research deepens this mystery surrounding them.

According to the “RT” website, in a study published in Nature, on September 21, an international team of scientists, including an astrophysicist at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas (UNLV), Ping Zhang, revealed that the unexpected new observations From a series of cosmic FRBs, it challenges the prevailing understanding of the physical nature and central driver of FRBs.

Fast radio bursts (FRBs) are millisecond-long cosmic explosions, each producing an energy equivalent to the annual output of the Sun.

Observations of cosmic FRBs were carried out in late spring 2021 using the Five Hundred Meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST) in China.

The team of Chinese and American astronomers, led by Heng Zhou, Kejia Li and Subo Dong of Peking University, and Wei Weizhou of the National Astronomical Observatories of China, along with Zhang, detected 1,863 outbursts in 82 hours over a 54-day period from an active fast radio burst source called FRB 20201124A.

“This is the largest sample of FRF data with polarization information from a single source,” Lee said.

Recent observations of fast radio bursts from our Milky Way galaxy indicate that they originated from a magnetar, a dense, city-sized neutron star with an incredibly strong magnetic field.

On the other hand, the origin of the distant cosmic fast radio bursts is still unknown. Recent observations leave scientists wondering what they think they know about it.

“It’s clear that FRFs are more mysterious than we imagined. More multi-wavelength observational campaigns are needed to reveal the nature of these objects,” said Zhang, who is also the founding director of the University of Nevada Center for Astrophysics at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas.

What makes the recent observations surprising to scientists are the irregular and short variations of the so-called “Faraday rotation scale”, an indicator of magnetic field strength and particle density in the vicinity of the FRF source.

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