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Scientists in Okanagan Valley detect radio bursts from distant galaxy

Scientists in Okanagan Valley detect radio bursts from distant galaxy

Out in the depths of space, there are radio signals that astronomers don't understand.

In 2007, astronomers discovered a new phenomenon that they called an FRB.

These radio bursts are only millisecond-long radio flashes, and such rapid bursts themselves aren't rare in space. FRBs are typically in the 1,400 MHz range, and the previous lowest radio frequency was at 700 MHz.

A repeating fast radio burst (FRB) has been detected by the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME), a new radio telescope. Since then, 36 have been found - 19 a year ago alone by researchers using an Australian radio telescope. The first repeating fast radio burst was recorded at a frequency of 700 megahertz, but some of the bursts CHIME recorded were as low as 400 megahertz. Incredibly, these radio waves originate from distant galaxies, travelling at high energies through the cosmos for literally billions of years. This provides impetus to theories that there could be evidence of advanced alien life.

While a bunch of FRBs have been detected previously, this is only the second time one's been observed to repeat itself. It left astronomers scratching their heads over an already freakish cosmic puzzle. Ingrid stairs who is the member of CHIME Team have had an interview in which he said that till now there had been one repeated FRB and there are clearer confirmations that there would be more suggestions like there have been before out there.

But what's interesting is that CHIME's observatory has shown such good results despite not even operating at full sensitivity as it is only in the commissioning phases right now.

Since we first started to look up, human beings have been obsessed with the majestic skies that exist above us.

"These are extremely powerful and frequent bursts. Our data will break open some of the mysteries of [the bursts]". "We haven't solved the problem, but it's several more pieces in the puzzle", says Tom Landecker, a CHIME team member from the National Research Council of Canada.

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To find that out, researchers would have to follow the same people over time and record changes in body weight and brain volume. Lower brain volume , or brain shrinkage , has been linked with an increased risk of memory decline and dementia.

Researchers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics point out that FRBs can be used to study the structure and evolution of the universe whether or not their origin is fully understood. In regular FRBs, they emit a single spike.

Petroff said she wasn't surprised the CHIME astronomers found another repeating FRB, but she was surprised they found it so soon. "So that is exciting".

Including the repeater, CHIME picked up a total of 13 new FRBs over the course of two months. CHIME is created to detect FRBs within the 400 to 800 MHz range.

"The CHIME frequency band sits in this gap where we didn't know anything about, so that's fantastic", Tendulkar said.

For more information about CHIME, visit the project website.

Stairs credits the discoveries to an "amazing team" of post-doctoral researchers and is confident more findings are on the horizon.

"Fast radio bursts are exceedingly bright given their short duration and origin at great distances, and we haven't identified a possible natural source with any confidence", said Loeb.