Second Repeating Fast Radio Burst Traced To Its Origin Deepens Mystery Of Their Sources

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The source of Fast Radio Bursts has remained unknown since their discovery in 2007.

And this new discovery has made this unsolved mystery in astronomy even more puzzling.

fast radio burst, fast radio burst origin discovery, Image of the host galaxy of FRB 180916. New measurements have allowed astronomers to pinpoint the location of a Fast Radio Burst in a nearby galaxy — making it the closest known example to Earth and only the second repeating burst source to have its location pinpointed in the sky
Image of the host galaxy of FRB 180916. New measurements have allowed astronomers to pinpoint the location of a Fast Radio Burst in a nearby galaxy — making it the closest known example to Earth and only the second repeating burst source to have its location pinpointed in the sky. Picture by Gemini Observatory/NSF’s Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory/AURA

An unsolved mystery in astronomy has become even more puzzling. End of June 2019, astronomers announced the discovery of the origin of one of those repeating fast radio bursts, some powerful extragalactic millisecond emissions of radio waves. Now, another group of scientists have found the source of another such repeating transient event and it seems to be closest to Earth yet. Now that location is exactly what’s puzzling experts right now.

What are Fast Radio Bursts?

FRBs are sudden bursts of radio waves lasting a few thousandths of a second. And in those few thousandths of second, its explosions produce as much energy as the sun does in nearly a century.

The sources of FRBs and their nature are mysterious. Many are one-off bursts but very few of them emit repeated flashes.

The newly discovered FRB origin is one of the only five sources with a precisely known location. From those only two show repeated bursts.

Discovery of origin of new Repeating Fast Radioburst

The newly traced short-lived event has been named FRB 180916 and appears to come from a spiral galaxy less than 500 million light-years away from Earth.

FRB 180916 is a repeating fast radio burst and only the second repeating one whose source or origin has been confirmed.

Though the location is puzzling experts: “This is the closest FRB to Earth ever localized. Surprisingly, it was found in an environment radically different from that of the previous four localized FRBs — an environment that challenges our ideas of what the source of these bursts could be.

Mysterious location

The first repeating FRB, FRB 121102, was emitted from a neutron star in a very distant dwarf galaxy. A non-repeating one was traced to the outskirts of a different galaxy, and another one pinpointed to an average spiral galaxy with no major distinguishing features.

Now the source of the newest discovery is radically different from that of not only the previously located repeating FRB, but also all previously studied FRBs and thus blurs the differences between repeating and non-repeating fast radio bursts.

The source of Fast Radio Bursts has remained unknown since their discovery in 2007 and this new discovery has made this unsolved mystery in astronomy even more puzzling. Now listen to more mysterious space sounds and discover more headlines on Strange Sounds and Steve Quayle. [NationalAstro, Nature]

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