September 23, 2021

Beyond Going Long

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Frequent, mysterious strange signals have ruined all our theories, we’re at the beginning again

The new observation of extraterrestrial signals, which we have been watching with enthusiasm for 14 years, has once again confused the entire scientific community. A study published in a prestigious journal temper nature That is, it refutes our best model in explaining the periodicity of some signals. The portal drew attention to the topic Sciences.

mysterious strange signs

We are talking about the “old known” radio flashes, often referred to by the acronym FRB (Fast Radio Burst), which we first discovered in 2007. These mysterious radio signals, in radio astronomy, it is understood as a transient radio pulse with a length of from a millisecond to a few thousandths of a second, and it usually comes to us from great distances and is among the most energetic events in the universe.

Jingchuan Yu, Beijing Planetarium / NRAO

While some FRBs have been detected by our detectors only once, others come back to us at certain intervals. The FRB 20180916B flash is one of the most popular and regularly repeated fast radio flashes.

Because of its relative proximity, coming from “only” a galaxy 475 million light-years away, and its 16-day frequency (4 days of flashes, 12 days of radio silence), the flash was a key player in the new study, Gateway points out. SkyAndTelescope.

In it, a group of scientists in question observed FRB 20180916B with two sensitive radio telescopes, the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope (WSRT) and the Apertif and Low Frequency Array (LOFAR), and came to unexpected conclusions.

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Why do some FRBs repeat regularly?

To this day, scientists wonder why some FBRs come to us only once, some multiple times, and some show periodicity in their heartbeat. Our best models illustrate FRB by the fact that the FRB source can be located in a chaotic environment filled with supernova remnants, or the source is surrounded by wind-charged particles drifting from the companion star, the Gateway indicates. vice.

Joyer Van Leeuwen

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Specifically, FRB 20180916B is explained by the fact that its source is a (isolated) magnetar (the sources of FRB are still unknown, but it is assumed that magnetars are behind its origin), which is part of a binary system with an orbital period of 16.29 today .

If the companion star of this system was blowing dense stellar winds that could absorb radio waves, the flashes would only be visible if the magnetar was on the side closest to Earth, when the companion star was not obscured by it, the first study by Ines Pastor Marazuela of the University of Amsterdam explains. However, a new study completely refutes our knowledge and models.

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Notes do not fit our models

As the gate writes Astro, the breakthrough in radio flashes led to the observation of “radio colours”. In visible light, colors are fundamentally how we distinguish wavelengths. For example, if we take an optical phenomenon known as a rainbow, we can see that the colors are arranged from blue (shorter wavelength) to red (longer wavelength).

Swift J1818.0-1607. Carl Knox, Osgrave.

However, some wavelengths are too long or short for the human eye to detect. These include “radio light” that extends beyond our rainbow beyond both the blue and red edges.

Like an optical rainbow, a wireless rainbow goes from the blue edge to the red edge, except that its edges are “bluer” and “red” because they are a million times longer than the blue and red optical wavelengths.

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In a new study, FRB experts monitored 20180916B on two radio waves, one “blue” and the other “red” at the same time. Because stellar winds transmit blue radio light better (shorter) than red (longer), which can even block out completely, the flashes were only supposed to shine blue, or would glow blue longer, Marazuela explains.

However, the opposite was true. Observations showed that FRBs emit blue wavelengths for 2 days, while in red wavelengths up to 3. This means that there were no stellar winds near the source, and no other low-frequency absorption or scattering mechanisms such as for example dense electron clouds. In other words, research suggests that something is wrong with our models.

“The fact that some of the fast radio flashes come from a clean environment, and are revealed by the dense electron haze in the host galaxy, is very exciting.” Gateway astronomer Liam Connor quotes ScienceAlert. “Naked, fast radio flashes will allow us to hunt down the missing baryon in space,” added.

However, the issue has not yet been resolved. We still don’t know why some FRBs repeat regularly and others don’t. In any case, new research has taken the stellar wind (binary system) theory off the table, returning to the original theory of isolated magnetars. The magnetism theory was considered less likely to cause periodicity because magnets do not rotate at such a slow pace.