Almost three years ago, researchers were baffled by a strange signal which came for space. Intense pulses were recorded for a few milliseconds before it vanished into thin air. At first, it was thought to be a singular event, but this was not the case since a repeating signal that is up to 600 times weaker than the one detected at first was spotted.
The pattern inferred that the elusive radio flares that have been detected several times by now could be more active than astronomers believed. Classified as fast radio bursts (or FRB), they are one of the most interesting phenomena. Their presence can be spotted in radio and electromagnetic measurements, and the energy which is released in a few seconds is on par with the output of millions of stars.
Fast Radio Bursts Are More Frequent Than Initially Believed
More than 250 bursts have been detected, but only a few were traced back to their original galaxies. There are also interesting differences between the FRBs, related to their strength, the polarization, and length. It is also puzzling that while some signals repeat, others do not appear to do so, or at least there are no visible signs.
A team of Australian researchers harnessed the Australian Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder to track down and learn more about FRBs. Twenty FRBs were found over two years, and no repetitions were observed. The study was focused on an impressive single burst that has been classified as FRB 171019.
A major highlight was the brightness of the pulse, but the researchers didn’t manage to find out the origin of the event. Another tool was used as the tea thought that the ASKAP might not trace the signals since they were too weak. The Green Bank Telescope and another tool spotted weak repeating signals from FRB 171019, and further observations were possible.