Discovery of a fast radio burst that pulses at regular intervals

A Canadian-led team of astronomers, including researchers from JIVE, has discovered that a repeating fast radio burst (FRB) originating from a nearby galaxy pulses at regular intervals. 

Researchers within the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) Fast Radio Burst Collaboration used the CHIME telescope in British Columbia to show that the repeating radio source known as FRB 180916.J0158+65 - first discovered in 2018 by the same group - pulsates apparently every 16.35 days.

The findings, recently described in a study published in Nature, are the first to demonstrate that repeating FRBs can burst predictably, in this case at regular intervals, apparently every 16.35 days.

FRBs were first discovered over a decade ago. First thought to be singular events, astronomers have since discovered that some of these high-intensity blasts of radio emissions - more intense than the energy generated by the Sun over many years - in fact repeat.

Though the explanation for the mysterious phenomenon remains elusive, the new study is yet another step towards determining what might be causing FRBs.

Earlier this year, astronomers in Europe, in partnership with the CHIME/FRB Collaboration, were able to pinpoint FRB 180916 to a nearby galaxy located at 500 million light years away from Earth. Astronomers worldwide are now studying the source with a variety of telescopes, in the hopes of explaining the repetition.

About this study
"Periodic activity from a fast radio burst source" by Amiri et al. is published in the 18 June 2020 issue of Nature. The article can be found here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2398-2

Image caption: FRB 180916.J0158+65 was earlier localized with very high precision with the European VLBI Network to a spiral galaxy (http://www.jive.eu/repeating-fast-radio-burst-spiral-galaxy-deepens-mystery-where-these-signals-originate )

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