A mysterious radio signal resembling a heartbeat has come from far away Spacereports CNN Broadcast by Slate. The exchange, intercepted by a team of astronomers on December 21, 2019, was described in a paper Nature Published on Wednesday.
The signal was captured using a Canadian radio telescope called CHIME. Its function is to analyze the radio waves emitted by distant hydrogen. In this case, unusual fast radio bursts (or fast radio bursts, FRBs) were detected. The first fast radio bursts were detected in 2007. After that, Astronomers I was able to catalog hundreds of these fast cosmic flashes coming from different points the universe.
“Boom, Boom, Boom”
While these fast bursts typically last only a few milliseconds before fading, astronomers saw a distinct FRB signal. Named FRB 20191221A, the signal lasted up to three seconds, about 1,000 times longer than typical fast radio bursts. “There were periodic spikes that emit each fraction of a second, like a heartbeat – boom, boom, boom. This is the first time that the signal is periodic,” explained Daniel Micheli, a postdoctoral researcher at the Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space at MIT.
It is difficult to pinpoint the origin of this signal. It comes fromA constellation Located 1 billion light years away. But scientists point out that this prediction is uncertain. However, the researchers believe the signal comes from emissions from two different types of neutron stars called radio pulsars and magnetars. In the case of FRB 20191221A, the source is “surrounded by a cloud of plasma, which should be very turbulent. »
In rapid bursts, in a few milliseconds, energy equivalent to that of 500 million suns is emitted.