Astronomers are out this week with some interesting news in space. More than 1B light years away “Fast Radio Bursts” lasting longer than any such thing of its kind prior to this date have been detected. These signals up until now have traditionally lasted a few milliseconds according to researchers, this time however, the signal has repeatedly been detected for longer than 3 seconds. Astronomers do not actually know where the signal is coming from but suspect it to be a magnetar though that hasn’t been fully confirmed yet. Its name is understood to be FRB 20191221A.
In most cases, fast radio bursts last a few milliseconds at most, and either go quiet or, very rarely, repeat somewhat periodically. However this new signal is different and is about three seconds long. It is about a thousand times longer than the average FRB – and contains a clear periodic pattern similar to a heartbeat which repeats every 0.2 seconds.
Researchers and their teams are hoping to use the new detection to further study the universe and what else may be out there. It also reportedly is the only signal to date found to contain such a detailed and strong periodic pattern ever found.
published in Nature.
“There are not many things in the universe that emit strictly periodic signals,” says co-author Daniele Michilli, a postdoc in MIT’s Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, US. “Examples that we know of in our own galaxy are radio pulsars and magnetars, which rotate and produce a beamed emission similar to a lighthouse. And we think this new signal could be a magnetar or pulsar on steroids.”