Scientists Are Tracing the Source of One of the Most Mysterious Signals in Space
Over the past decade, we’ve found out a great deal about what fast radio bursts (FRBs) are — millisecond-long blips of intense radio emissions from deep space — but their origins remain a mystery.
Now, astronomers have tracked a repeating FRB to a dwarf galaxy nearly three billion lightyears from Earth, according to a report.
The international team, which presented its work at the annual American Astronomical Society meeting last January 2018, observed that the radio beam was being contorted by a magnetic field within a cloud of ionized gas, telling us more about the conditions these bursts take place in.
The study detailing the team’s results was recently published in Nature.
“We see a sort of ‘twisting’ of the radio bursts caused by an effect known as Faraday rotation,” Jason Hessels, one of the co-authors of the study from the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, told Futurism.
“We hypothesize that the source of the bursts could be a neutron star in the proximity of a massive black hole that is accreting material from its surroundings, or maybe that it is a very young neutron star embedded in a nebula (a sort of cocoon around the source).”
“We are basically pushing forward and zooming in even further on where these fast radio bursts are coming from,” co-author Shami Chatterjee, a senior research associate from the Cornell Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Science said.
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