Surprising new features of mysterious fast radio bursts challenge current understanding

Fast telescope artist concept

Technical rendering of the 5 Hundred Meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST) in China. Credit score: Jingchuan Yu

Quick Radio Bursts – A deep and puzzling puzzle

A global workforce of scientists reveals the evolving, magnetized surroundings and site of a shocking supply of quick radio bursts in deep area – observations that problem present understanding.

Quick radio bursts (FRBs) are millisecond-long cosmic explosions that every produce power equal to the annual output of the Solar. Its puzzling nature continues to shock scientists greater than 15 years after electromagnetic radio wave pulses had been first detected in deep area. Now, newly printed analysis deepens the thriller surrounding them.

New, surprising observations from a collection of cosmic radio bursts by a global workforce of scientists are difficult the prevailing understanding of the bodily nature and central driver of FRBs. The researchers, together with College of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) astrophysicist Peng Zhang, printed their findings within the September 21 concern of the journal. mood nature.

The 5 Hundred Meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST) is positioned in a pure despair within the panorama in Guizhou, China. It’s the largest single-dish radio telescope on the planet, with a diameter of 500 meters (1,600 ft) and a receiving space equal to 30 soccer fields. FAST is anticipated to take care of its world place for the subsequent 20 to 30 years. With its modern design, FAST has damaged the 100-meter geometric restrict for constructing telescopes and created a brand new mode for constructing massive radio telescopes.

Cosmic FRB observations had been made in late spring 2021 utilizing the 5 Hundred Meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST) in China. The workforce detected 1,863 blasts in 82 hours over a 54-day interval from an energetic quick radio burst supply known as FRB 20201124A. Scientists Heng Shu, Qijia Li and Subo Dong of Peking College, and Weiwei Zhou of the Nationwide Astronomical Observatories of China, led together with Zhang.

“That is the biggest pattern of FRB information with polarization data from a single supply,” Lee instructed me.

The final notes of a quick radio went off from us[{” attribute=””>Milky Way galaxy indicate that it originated from a magnetar, which is a dense, city-sized neutron star with an incredibly powerful magnetic field. On the other hand, the origin of very distant cosmological fast radio bursts remains unknown. And these latest observations leave scientists questioning what they thought they knew about them.

“These observations brought us back to the drawing board,” said Zhang, who also serves as founding director of UNLV’s Nevada Center for Astrophysics. “It is clear that FRBs are more mysterious than what we have imagined. More multi-wavelength observational campaigns are needed to further unveil the nature of these objects.”

FAST Telescope

The Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST), nicknamed Tianyan (“Eye of the Sky/Heaven”) is a radio telescope located in the Dawodang depression, a natural basin in Pingtang County, Guizhou, southwest China. It consists of a fixed 500-meter diameter dish constructed in a natural depression in the landscape. It is the world’s largest filled-aperture radio telescope, and the second-largest single-dish aperture after the sparsely-filled RATAN-600 in Russia.

What makes the latest observations surprising to scientists is the irregular, short-time variations of the so-called “Faraday rotation measure,” essentially the strength of the magnetic field and density of particles in the vicinity of the FRB source. The variations went up and down during the first 36 days of observation and suddenly stopped during the last 18 days before the source quenched.

“I equate it to filming a movie of the surroundings of an FRB source, and our film revealed a complex, dynamically evolving, magnetized environment that was never imagined before,” said Zhang. “Such an environment is not straightforwardly expected for an isolated magnetar. Something else might be in the vicinity of the FRB engine, possibly a binary companion,” added Zhang.

To observe the host galaxy of the FRB, the team of astronomers also made use of the 10-m Keck telescopes located at Mauna Kea in Hawaii. Zhang says that young magnetars are believed to reside in active star-forming regions of a star-forming galaxy, but the optical image of the host galaxy shows that – unexpectedly – it’s a metal-rich barred spiral galaxy like our Milky Way. The FRB location is in a region where there is no significant star-forming activity.

“This location is inconsistent with a young magnetar central engine formed during an extreme explosion such as a long gamma-ray burst or a superluminous supernova, widely speculated progenitors of active FRB engines,” said Dong.

Reference: “A fast radio burst source at a complex magnetized site in a barred galaxy” by H. Xu, J. R. Niu, P. Chen, K. J. Lee, W. W. Zhu, S. Dong, B. Zhang, J. C. Jiang, B. J. Wang, J. W. Xu, C. F. Zhang, H. Fu, A. V. Filippenko, E. W. Peng, D. J. Zhou, Y. K. Zhang, P. Wang, Y. Feng, Y. Li, T. G. Brink, D. Z. Li, W. Lu, Y. P. Yang, R. N. Caballero, C. Cai, M. Z. Chen, Z. G. Dai, S. G. Djorgovski, A. Esamdin, H. Q. Gan, P. Guhathakurta, J. L. Han, L. F. Hao, Y. X. Huang, P. Jiang, C. K. Li, D. Li, H. Li, X. Q. Li, Z. X. Li, Z. Y. Liu, R. Luo, Y. P. Men, C. H. Niu, W. X. Peng, L. Qian, L. M. Song, D. Stern, A. Stockton, J. H. Sun, F. Y. Wang, M. Wang, N. Wang, W. Y. Wang, X. F. Wu, S. Xiao, S. L. Xiong, Y. H. Xu, R. X. Xu, J. Yang, X. Yang, R. Yao, Q. B. Yi, Y. L. Yue, D. J. Yu, W. F. Yu, J. P. Yuan, B. B. Zhang, S. B. Zhang, S. N. Zhang, Y. Zhao, W. K. Zheng, Y. Zhu and J. H. Zou, 21 September 2022, Nature.
DOI: 10.1038/s41586-022-05071-8

The study appeared September 21 in the journal Nature and includes 74 co-authors from 30 institutions. In addition to UNLV, Peking University, and the National Astronomical Observatories of China, collaborating institutions also include Purple Mountain Observatory, Yunnan University, UC Berkeley, Caltech, Categories Physics Tags , , , , , , , ,