Repeating Mysterious Radio Signals in Space

The CHIME/FRB Collaboration announced the discovery of 25 repeating fast radio burst (FRB) sources.

This is a significant breakthrough in the study of these enigmatic astronomical phenomena, that sources found among CHIME/FRB events detected between 2019 September 30 and 2021 May 1.

Above: Animation of the randomness of fast radio bursts. (NRAO Outreach/Vimeo)

Fast radio bursts are intense bursts of radio waves that last only a few milliseconds and appear to come from outside our galaxy.

The discovery of 25 repeating FRB sources is a major step forward in understanding the nature of these mysterious objects. It suggests that there may be a population of FRB sources that repeat regularly, which could help astronomers to pinpoint their location and study their properties in more detail.

“When we carefully count all our fast radio bursts and the sources that repeat we find that only about 2.6 percent of all fast radio bursts that we discover repeat.

For many of the new sources, we have detected only a few bursts, which makes the sources quite inactive. Almost as inactive as the sources that we have only seen once.

We thus cannot rule out that the sources for which we have so far only seen one burst will eventually show repeat bursts as well. It is possible that all fast radio burst sources eventually repeat, but many sources are not very active.

Any explanation for fast radio bursts should be able to explain why some sources are hyperactive while others are mostly quiet.”

source The Astrophysical Journal