Scientists have identified the origin of a fast radio burst from deep in the universe

It was last year that during 92 hours of observation, a recurring "Fast Radio Burst" (FRB) was detected with 1,863 bursts in 82 hours. This hyperactive behavior allowed scientists to not only identify the host galaxy, but also the exact source of the event. " or "FAST" was identified in China and the results of its investigation have been published in articles in "Nature" and "Nature Communications".

>

It was last year that during 92 hours of observation, a recurring "Fast Radio Burst" (FRB) was detected with 1,863 bursts in 82 hours. This hyperactive behavior allowed scientists to not only identify the host galaxy, but also the exact source of the event. " or "FAST" was identified in China and the results of its investigation have been published in articles in "Nature" and "Nature Communications".

So far, most of the evidence to A magnetar, a neutron star with an extremely strong magnetic field, has been implicated as the source of such fast radio bursts.

If indeed FRB 20201124A originated from one of these rogue cosmic objects, it would be an unusual example. According to Bing Zhang, an astrophysicist at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, "this observation will revolutionize our knowledge."

  • NASA Source 5 Fast Radio Bursts Detected

It is clear that fast radio bursts are more mysterious than previously thought, and to better understand the nature of these objects, more observations at wavelengths variety is needed. The phenomenon has baffled scientists since it was first discovered 15 years ago in archival data from 2001: a burst of incredibly powerful radio emission that lasts only the blink of an eye.

It was in 2020 that a breakthrough was made for the first time with the detection of a fast radio burst in the Milky Way. The resulting studies helped astrophysicists figure out the origin of this phenomenon is magnetic activity.

Now this latest example of fast radio bursts represents another rare recurring event. In just under two months of observation, FRB 20201124A has provided astronomers with the most data from a polarized fast radio burst of any other FRB source.

Polarization refers to the direction of electromagnetic waves in three-dimensional space. . By examining how much this orientation has changed since the light left its original source, scientists can understand the environment through which the light has passed. For example, high polarization indicates an environment with strong magnetism.

BingMag.com Scientists have identified the origin of a fast radio burst from deep in the universe

Graphic plot of a wave created by a magnetar
Credit: NASA

Now, based on a wealth of data recorded from FRB 20201124A, astronomers have been able to deduce that the source of this phenomenon is a " Magnetar" (Magnetar). But the strange thing was that the way its polarization changes over time shows that the strength of this magnetic field and the density of particles around the magnetar are fluctuating.

Zhang explained: "I It is equivalent to filming the environment around the source of a fast radio burst, and our film revealed a complex, dynamically evolving, magnetic environment that we had never imagined before."

Such an environment would not be directly expected for a single magnetar. And so there may be something else, possibly a stellar companion, in the vicinity of the heart of this fast radio burst. The data suggest that the companion could be a hot, blue Be type star, often known as a companion to neutron stars.

But there was something else odd. As a type of neutron star, magnetars are the collapsed cores of massive stars that have no fuel and no outward pressure, so they collapse in on themselves under gravity. Such stars quickly burn through their fuel, have a short lifetime, and then eject their outer material in a supernova explosion as the core collapses.

Due to this short lifetime, it is thought that these young magnetars to be found in regions where star formation is still taking place. Stars spend their short lives and die, creating more clouds of material that form new stars. A beautiful cosmic cycle that displays the process of life.

But the magnetar FRB 20201124A was discovered in a galaxy very similar to the Milky Way. where star formation does not take place at a high rate, and therefore there should not be a mass of stars near this magnetar. However, FRB 20201124A is not the only source of FRBs in a galaxy relatively devoid of births stars are found.

The growing number of these types of fast radio bursts suggests that we may be missing some key information in our study of these objects. Thus, our knowledge of FRB magnetars, how they are formed and where they are present is not enough.

But now the description of the source of one of them means that there is a new place to search for answers to these questions. we have. As this research by Wang and his colleagues shows, binary stars including a B-type neutron star can be one of the best places to look for fast signals, such as radio bursts. Fast in China
Credit: Jingchuan Yu

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *