Fast Radio Bursts Remain A Mystery, But CHIME Might Shed More Light On The Phenomenon

The Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) is an interferometric radio telescope at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory in British Columbia, Canada. It has also turned out to be a superior instrument for observing the recently discovered phenomenon of fast radio bursts (FRBs).

As a result, in 2017, CHIME inaugurated a partnership with the University of British Columbia, McGill University, the University of Toronto, and the Canadian National Research Council’s Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory.

CHIME might shed more light on fast radio bursts

CHIME’s daily survey of the sky enables the study of our own Milky Way galaxy in radio frequencies and is expected to improve the understanding of galactic magnetic fields. It will also help other experiments to calibrate measurements of radio waves from rapidly spinning neutron stars, which researchers hope to use to detect gravitational waves.

Now, CHIME helped increase that number to nine new repeating sources. The total number of known repeaters is now 20. Although the exact origin and cause are uncertain, they are almost definitely extragalactic.

When the FRBs are polarized, it indicates that they are emitted from a source contained within an extremely powerful magnetic field. The origin of the FRBs has yet to be identified; proposals for their origin range from a rapidly rotating neutron star and a black hole, to extraterrestrial intelligence.

Scientists don’t know if repeating and non-repeating FRBs are produced in different ways and in different environments. There is no explanation for why some repeat and others don’t.

What is known so far

The dispersion measures have the same distribution, suggesting they originate in similar local environments and have identical distributions in space. The pulse widths are larger for repeaters than for non-repeaters, meaning that repeating sources have longer-duration bursts slightly.

The Faraday rotation measures for the repeaters are lower than the high rotation of the repeater. But it might be due to an anomaly, and both repeaters and non-repeaters may originate from more modestly magnetized environments.

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