The CHIME radio telescope recorded fast radio pulses repeating exactly after 16 days

The CHIME radio telescope, located in Canada, found a source that generates fast radio bursts (FRB) with a frequency of once every 16 earth days. And this source, FRB 180916.J0158 + 65, is the first known in the history of science, the pulses from which follow constantly with a fairly stable period. We remind our readers that fast radio pulses are very bright flashes of radio emission coming from random regions of space at random times. The first fast radio pulse was recorded in 2001, after which scientists were able to record a certain number of similar phenomena. And now, thanks to the commissioning of specialized astronomical instruments, which include the CHIME / FRB (Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment Fast Radio Burst) radio telescope, scientists have learned that the sources of these radio pulses may be less random in nature than previously thought .

Over the past year, the CHIME radio telescope has discovered eight new sources of fast radio pulses. Between September 2018 and November 2019, this telescope recorded 28 fast radio pulses from the source FRB 180916.J0158 + 65, which is located in one of the neighboring spiral galaxies with us. An analysis of the data showed that this source is highly stable, and it generates a radio pulse with a period of 16 earth days. The available amount of collected data was quite sufficient to exclude the possibility of a statistical error, however, this discovery was additionally confirmed by observations of the European Very-long-baseline-interferometry Network (EVN) observatory, whose telescopes recorded a fast radio pulse from the source FRB 180916.J0158 + 65 June 19, 2019.

The CHIME radio telescope, located in southern British Columbia, consists of four semi-cylinders lying on the surface, which are highly sensitive radio antennas with a wide radiation pattern. In addition to a wide viewing area of ​​the sky, the telescope antennas provide a wide enough radio frequency range. This tool simultaneously scans 1024 areas of the night sky at 16 thousand fixed frequencies with a frequency of 1000 times per second.

Despite the frequency of the source FRB 180916.J0158 + 65, scientists still do not have accurate data on its nature. But, as in most similar cases, they have a number of assumptions related to the presence at the main source of a second cosmic companion body. The main source can be a magnetar – a compact neutron star with a strong intrinsic magnetic field. However, the rotation period of all magnetars known to science does not exceed 12 seconds, which is much less than 16 days, through which fast radio pulses are generated.

In the near future, scientists plan to conduct additional observations of the source FRB 180916.J0158 + 65, using all the available radio frequency bands today. It is possible that in some additional ranges they will be able to find information and clues regarding the nature of this source and the processes that generate fast radio pulses that follow with such a stable frequency.

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