Astronomers detect mysterious repeated radio signal from faraway galaxy for second time

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"Until now there was only one FRB repeated each time", says Ingrid Stairs, an astrophysicist at the University of British Columbia (Canada) and lead author of the study published in Nature.

"With CHIME mapping the entire northern hemisphere every day, we're bound to find more repeaters over time", Stairs said.

"Good reported the first results from the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME), a telescope that was originally created to explore the early Universe but has turned out to be ideal for detecting FRBs".

The repeating FRB was one of a total of 13 bursts detected over a period of just three weeks during the summer of 2018.

CHIME, the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment, is not yet working at full capacity. That repeating FRB seemed to have originated from a galaxy located about 2.5 billion light-years from Earth. The project wasn't yet living up to its full potential, suggesting that there are plenty more bursts to be discovered. Harvard University Professor Abraham Loeb a year ago said FRBs could originate from planet-sized transmitters that are used to propel giant spaceships by bouncing radio waves off their huge reflective sheets.

The new FRBs are are also at unusually low radio frequencies. Among these newly captured signals are seven bursts that registered at 400 megahertz - the lowest FRB frequency detected so far - and, for only the second time ever, an FRB that flashed repeatedly, six times in a row.

These repeating signals have a lower frequency.

Of more than 60 FRBs detected to date, such repeating bursts have only been picked up once before, by the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico in 2015.

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Repeating FRBs may be a rare finding, but they're even stranger than their single counterparts.

"Most of the, sort of, reasonable theories involve a neutron star, or possibly a black hole", she explains.

"FRBs were an unexpected mystery". "We would like to accurately localise them and understand which galaxies they are coming from".

The "scattering" phenomenon was detected in the radio bursts, which can help answer questions about the atmosphere surrounding the origin. That tells us something about the environments and the sources.

The CHIME team, which designed and built the telescope, includes 14 scientists from the University of B.C. alongside others from McGill University, the University of Toronto, the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and the National Research Council of Canada.

Good said that "if we had 1,000 examples, we would be able to say many more things about what FRBs are like".

As such, till it's proven otherwise, these FRBs could be like the Schrödinger's cat thought experiment - rumblings of an alien Honey Singh, rapping on in a distant galaxy for the conspiracy theorists out there, while still remaining nothing more than the final goodbyes of a dying black hole for dismissive scientists. "But it has to be in some special place to give us all the scattering that we see".

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