According to one study, the first “rapid radio burst” (FRB) to emanate from a known star within the Million Way: remarkable that the signal had been detected and gone in half a second, but all they had to confirm was Scientists were needed. Published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters on 27 July.
Since their discovery in 2007, FRBs have surprised scientists. The burst of powerful radio waves lasts only a few milliseconds, but the Earth produces more energy in that time than the Sun. Scientists have not yet explained what caused these explosions, but they have proposed everything from searching for the pulse of foreign stars as a possible explanation. By now, each known FRB has originated from another galaxy, hundreds of millions of light years away.
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This FRB is different. Telescope observations suggest that the burst came from a known neutron star – the fast-spinning, compact core of a dead star, which packs a mass worth of sun into a city-sized ball – about 30,000 from Earth in the constellation Light years. Vulpesula. The stellar remnant fits into a single stranger square of the star, called a magnetor, named for its incredibly powerful magnetic field that emits intense amounts of energy long after the star’s death. Is capable of spitting. Now it seems that the magneters are almost certainly the source of some of the universe’s many mysterious FRBs, the study authors wrote.
“We have never seen the bursting of radio waves before, from a magnetor, a rapid radio burst,” said lead study author Sandro Meregaty of Milan, Italy’s National Institute for Astrophysics. “This is the first observational relationship between magneters and rapid radio burst.”
A magnet named SGR 1935 + 2154 was discovered in 2014 when scientists saw it emitting powerful bursts of gamma rays and X-rays at random intervals. After being quiet for a while, the dead star wakes up in late April with a powerful X-ray explosion. Sandro and his colleagues detected the explosion with the Integral Satellite of the European Space Agency (ESA), which was designed to capture the most energetic event in the universe. At the same time, a radio telescope in the mountains of British Columbia, Canada, detected an explosion of radio waves coming from the same source. Radio telescopes in California and Utah confirmed the FRB the next day.
Never before has a magneter been detected by simultaneous explosions of radio waves and X-rays, the researchers wrote, pointing to these stellar remains strongly as appreciable sources of FRB.
Crucially, ESA scientist Eric Kulkars said, the discovery was possible only because many telescopes in Earth and orbit were able to catch a burst simultaneously, and across multiple wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum. “Further cooperation between institutions is necessary to bring the origin of these mysterious events into account,” said Kullars.
Originally published on Live Science.