Astronomers discover repeating radio burst that flashes like a strobe light
March 3, 2016 - Uncategorized
Powerful explosions of radio waves known as fast radio bursts explode in the sky like a flash from a camera — a single, great release of energy. But astronomers recently spotted an FRB that looks more like a strobe light — the event released multiple bright bursts of radio waves.
Fast radio bursts, or FRBs, were only discovered in 2007, and while astronomers estimate that thousands of these bursts take place every day, this is only the 18th FRB ever identified. Why haven’t any of the other FRBs shown this repeat behavior?
“It’s possible that so far we’ve only seen the brightest FRB bursts,” lead author Jason W. T. Hessels, associate scientist at ASTRON, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, told Space.com in an email. Hessels led a team that used the Arecibo telescope in Puerto Rico to locate a collection of 11 repeating bursts from the same source. “Because of Arecibo’s much higher sensitivity, we can see much weaker pulses, and hence the chances of detecting repeats is higher.” Read more…