In 2007, researchers at West Virginia University first identified an unusually intense burst of radio waves from space. Since then, these fast radio bursts, or FRBs, have been a mystery to astronomers.
They just knew that FRB is pulses of radio waves and that FRB comes from places in our galaxy, the Milky Way and other galaxies.
But recently, researchers identified an FRB that was first found in 2019 with the world’s largest radio telescope with a bowl, called FAST. It is in Guizhou Province of China. FRB was studied more with the VLA telescope in the state of New Mexico in the United States. FRB is in a very small galaxy, which is almost 3 billion light-years from Earth. A light year is the distance light travels in one year.
Researchers believe that extreme objects can emit these rapid radio bursts. These objects may include unusual types of stars such as a neutron star. A neutron star is the center of a large star at the end of its life cycle that explodes like a supernova. Another is a magnetar, which is a neutron star with a very strong magnetic field. And another possible cause of an FRB is one black hole eat a nearby star.
Casey Law is an astronomer at the California Institute of Technology. He was a co-author of a recent study of 2019 FRB which was published in Nature. He said that FRBs are fast flashes of radio energy that are turned on and off in just one millisecond. They can be observed throughout the universe. Some objects produce a storm of repeated FRBs, and some burst only once.
The 2019 FRB is repeated. Weaker radio signals continue between showers, so it always seems to be “on”. Most known FRB, almost 500 of them, are not repeated.
Astronomers believe that the FRB described in Nature studies are only at the beginning of their lives. It is still surrounded by thick material from the supernova explosion that created a neutron star. The researchers suspect that the repeated outbreaks come from younger FRBs.
Di Li is the director of the FAST telescope researcher and works with the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. He was involved in writing Nature study. He said: “We still call fast radio bursts one cosmic mystery and rightly so. “
Although the FRB is still not fully understood, the new recurring FRB can help researchers discover the cause of radiotherapy. Several years ago, researchers faced a similar mystery with gamma radiation. These events are now thought to be the result of the death of very large stars, or from neutron stars or magnets joined together to form a black hole.
But researchers have much more to learn about FRB.
“We know more and more about phenomenonwhere the springs live, how often they burst … But we are still hunting for the golden measure that will give us a definitive answer to what is causing them, ”said Law.
I’m Faith Pirlo.
Will Dunham wrote this article for Reuters. Faith Pirlo adapted it to learn English.
Words in this story
astronomer –N. a scientist who studies stars, planets and objects in outer space
pulse – n. a short increase in the amount of electricity, light or sound
light years – n. the distance light travels in one year, about 9.5 trillion kilometers
supernova – n. a star that has exploded and greatly increased its brightness over a period of time
black hole – n. a very dense area in space where gravity is so strong that nothing, not even light, can come out
cosmic – adj. of or related to the universe or outer space
phenomenon – n. an event or interesting event that can be observed and studied and that is not easy to explain or understand
definitive – adj. clear, confident and unlikely to change
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