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The fast-fire radio burst shows a hot space between galaxies

The fast-fire radio burst shows a hot space between galaxies

A recently-discovered rare, persistent, fast-fire radio source that occasionally sends useful cosmic information more than 3.5 billion light-years away is helping to reveal the secrets of burning intergalactic space. That’s according to an international team of astronomers who published their findings in the journal nature.

The 20190520B fast radio burst – a source of a repetitive, copious explosion – was first observed in June 2019 by the 500-meter aperture spherical radio telescope (FAST), in Guizhou Province, southwest China. Astronomers generally consider this telescope to be the spiritual successor to the defunct Arecibo Observatory built by Cornell University in Puerto Rico.

After FAST detected the explosion, scientists located the blast site using the Very Large Array, Socorro, NM.

What excites astronomers about Frequent Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) – since they usually only happen once – is that these fast waves provide scientists with a path to understanding the mysterious and mysterious galactic medium, millions of degrees.

“Examination of the intergalactic medium is really difficult,” said co-author Shami Chatterjee, senior fellow in astronomy at Cornell University. “The intergalactic medium is difficult to explore, which is why fast radio bursts are exciting. The explosions allow us to study the properties of the intergalactic medium.”

Join Chatterjee on nature The research paper is by James M. Cordes, professor of astronomy and Stella K. Uker, PhD candidate in astronomy.

Co-author Di Li, is chief scientist for FAST and the Radio Division of the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The observatory has discovered more than 100 pulsars and more than 5 FRBs.

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Four bursts were detected in the first 24-second survey in 2019, according to the article. Between April and September 2020, during follow-up observations, he discovered FAST 75.

Given the rapidly recurring eruptions, astronomers think FRB 20190520B may be very small. “It appears to exist in a complex plasma environment, such as that expected in a small supernova remnant,” Chatterjee said. “So one possibility is that the highly energetic source could be neonatal, and if so, that paints an interesting evolutionary picture for FRBs, where young sources of bursts are associated with persistent radio emissions.”

“The persistent emission fades away as the frequency of the eruption slows,” Chatterjee said. “This is still a hypothesis and we look forward to testing it with other examples of FRB iterations.”

Astronomers generally assume that FRBs only pass through a modest amount of gas (free electrons) into host galaxies, making it easy to count the electrons in the intergalactic medium. FRB 20190520B shows the opposite: it encountered far more gas in its host galaxy than scientists expected, challenging previous assumptions.

Ultimately, astronomers want to know how the intergalactic medium formed.

“We want to break down the number of free electrons in the intergalactic medium because it was very difficult to study,” Ucker said. “We don’t know much about her.”

“This new FRB iteration is behaving in extreme and surprising ways,” Ucker said.

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Materials offered by Cornell University. Original by Blaine Friedlander, courtesy of the Cornell Chronicle. Note: Content can be modified according to style and length.