Astronomers have detected a strange radio signal coming from another galaxy, about 3 billion light-years from Earth. This is the second time ever that scientists have detected such a repeating signal.
Researchers have discovered fast radio bursts (FRBs) known as FRB 20190520B. The researchers noted that the signal was “co-location with a compressed, continuous radio source associated with a dwarf host galaxy of highly specific star formation.” The notes were published in the journal Science temper nature.
The FRB was detected using the Five Hundred Meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST) in Guizhou, China, in May 2019. Additional observations recorded approximately 75 more FRBs in a five-month period in 2020. The signal was then translated using Karl G array Jansky’s Very Large (VLA) of the US National Science Foundation.
The observations revealed that the emitting body was also responsible for sending smaller and weaker radio bursts between the FRBs. These characteristics indicate that the signal from FRB 20190520B is very similar to the first FRB identified in 2016, FRB 12110.
Scientists aren’t sure what causes the FRBs, but they hypothesized that the FRB is newborn and is sending out the signals because it is still surrounded by “the dense matter emitted by the supernova explosion that left the neutron star.” Under the ‘newborn’ theory, signals would be expected to gradually weaken with age in FRB.
“The FRB field is moving very fast at the moment and new discoveries are coming out monthly. However, there are still big questions, and this object is giving us challenging clues about these questions,” said Sarah Burke Spulor, co-author of the study.
More than ten FRBs have been translated before, five of which involve duplicating FRBs sources. These discoveries, accelerated by technological advances in radio telemetry and astronomy, are allowing scientists to slowly gather more information about cosmic events such as the death of massive and supermassive stars, and the merger of neutron and magnetic stars.
“Infuriatingly humble analyst. Bacon maven. Proud food specialist. Certified reader. Avid writer. Zombie advocate. Incurable problem solver.”