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The most distant fast radio burst detected emitting energy from the Sun in 30 years

The most distant fast radio burst detected emitting energy from the Sun in 30 years

Fast radio bursts are mysterious radio sources whose nature is not yet known, although they are most likely neutron stars. We’ve just discovered the most distant one known to date, and with its enormous luminous power, it literally sheds light on the mystery of the Big Bang’s missing protons.

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We have been talking regularly for about ten years about fast radio bursts (Fast radio bursts, or FRB in English), also called “Lorimer explosions”, named after their discoverer. They generally appear as fleeting signals in which the equivalent of all the energy the Sun radiates into the visible in a year appears to be released in a few milliseconds at most into the radio field. They were initially discovered thanks to new analyzes of archived data collected by the Parkes Radio Telescope in Australia. For a while, it wasn’t clear whether we were dealing with something new or just false signals. But it was finally shown that these were actually new radio sources and located outside the Milky Way.

Speculation abounded, and it was also hoped that new types of stars might be hidden behind fast radio bursts, indicating new leaps in knowledge. After all, the discovery of pulsars and neutron stars opened the door to the discovery of gravitational waves, and so the new astronomy associated with them is likely to provide us with insights into new physics and discoveries in cosmology, as perhaps demonstrated by the collaboration of scientists.International Pulsar Timing Array (EBTA).

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Searching for FRBs in Canada For a fairly accurate French translation, click on the white rectangle at the bottom right. The English translation should appear next. Then click on the nut to the right of the rectangle, then on “Translations” and finally on “Translate automatically.” Select “French”. © Peripheral Institute for Theoretical Physics

30 years of solar radiation is emitted in less than a millisecond

Many radio telescopes study fast radio bursts today, but we also seek to determine their location in galaxies once their coordinates on the planetarium are known with sufficient accuracy using these instruments. We can then see using more conventional telescopes if we can link the radio source to a source in visible or infrared light with instruments such as Very large telescope (VLT) of the European Southern Observatory (ESO). In fact, that’s what just happened with FRB 20220610A, which was discovered in June last year using the Askap radio telescope in Australia.

ESO has just announced via A press release accompanying a publication in the popular magazine science FRB 20220610A is the most distant fast radio burst yet discovered, and it occurred about 8 billion years ago, breaking the previous distance record by 50%. We also know that they were particularly powerful because they released in less than a millisecond the equivalent of the energy the Sun would emit at all wavelengths in 30 years.

in ESO press release“, explains Stuart Ryder, an astronomer at Macquarie University in Australia and co-lead author of the published study: “ Thanks to Askap’s parabolic antenna network, we were able to pinpoint the origin of the burst. We then used the ESO VLT in Chile to search for the source galaxy, and found that it was older and more distant than any other FRBs discovered so far, and was likely located within a small cluster of galaxies in the process of merging. »

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FRBs serve as probes of intergalactic matter

However, according to Ryan Shannon, a professor at Swinburne Technological University in Australia, this discovery could make it possible to probe the layers of light in the universe by helping to find the famous missing protons from the Big Bang. Hence the researcher remembers that ” If we count the amount of natural matter in the universe – the atoms of which we are all composed – we find that more than half of what should be present today is missing. We think the missing matter is hiding in intergalactic space, but it may be so hot and diffuse that it’s impossible to see with usual techniques. Fast radio bursts detect this ionized material. Even in completely empty space, they can “see” all the electrons, allowing us to measure the amount of matter between galaxies “.

What did the universe look like when the first galaxies formed? How are planets formed? Is there life there? To answer the biggest questions, you need the biggest machine. The largest scientific facility ever built by humanity: two telescopes extending beyond the horizon in remote areas of Australia and South Africa. For a fairly accurate French translation, click on the white rectangle at the bottom right. The English translation should appear next. Then click on the nut to the right of the rectangle, then on “Translations” and finally on “Translate automatically.” Select “French”. © SKAO Communications Office

In the near future cooperation Square kilometer matrix The nuclear envelope will provide two impressive arrays of giant radio telescopes in South Africa and Australia, which will be able to detect thousands of fast radio bursts at great distances from the Milky Way. ESO is also preparing to activate it Very large telescope (ELT), which would enable viewing of galaxies potentially associated with these fast radio bursts, far beyond current records.

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We will then be able to determine the value and distribution of the missing baryonic matter, which is quantified by calculations of primordial Big Bang nucleosynthesis. Sadly, Hubert Reeves is no longer around to see these discoveries coming.

The ESO press release on the subject adds that, as in the case of FRB 20220610A, we will be able to use what we today call the Macquart relationship, discovered by the late Australian astronomer Jean-Pierre Macquart in 2020, making it possible to estimate, using the properties of the FRB radiation, the amount of gas spreading between galaxies which can accurately account for the protons lost from the Big Bang.