For more than a decade, astronomers have been puzzled about the origin of the mysterious and fleeting explosions of radio waves coming from distant galaxies.
Now, scientists have discovered such the first such explosion in the Milky Way and traced it to the probable source: a small, spinning ruin from a collapsed star about 30,000 away from Earth. light year.
The surprise finding gave researchers the strongest evidence that some, if not all, fast radio explosions, or FRBs, were released by compact, magnetic neutron stars. The tall are called magnets ̵1; exotic objects produced in the embers of supernovas.
“This is the brightest radio explosion ever discovered in our galaxy,” said Daniele Michilli, an astrophysicist at McGill University in Montreal, who works on the Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment of Canada, also known as the Chime telescope.
FRB was first seen in 2007 when Duncan Lorimer and his student David Narkevic worked on observations archived from Parkes in Australia. The massive explosion of radio waves lasted less than 5 milliseconds, and what caused it to be a mystery. Scientists have recorded dozens more since then, all from outside our galaxy.
The latest discovery came on April 28 when the Chime telescope detected a millisecond FRB coming from an area in the sky where the magnet named SGR1935 + 2154 was hiding. A second, less complicated telescope – made of metal poles and gear boxes – known as Transient Radio-Wave Emission Survey 2, or Stare2, was quick to confirm vision. see, together with an X-ray coming out of the same source.
Chris Bochenek, an astrophysicist at Caltech who helped build Stare2, said he and his colleagues gave the project a 10% chance of detecting FRB in the Milky Way. “When I first looked at the data, I was frozen and basically paralyzed with excitement,” he said. “The fact that we discovered such an explosion in the Milky Way is amazing.”
Signal analysis, dubbed FRB 200428, found that the magnet emits as much energy in radiation waves for a millisecond as the sun for half a minute. Details of the findings are published in three independent studies in the journal Nature.
While this discovery does not mean that all fast radio explosions come from magnetic fields, it accurately identifies objects as a source that astronomers will observe more closely.
One big question remains how the magnets produce such intense radiation bursts. One is that the magnets distorted by “stellar battles” ripped apart their surfaces and released enormous jets of energy. Another reason is that strong light rays from magnets collide with particles in space, creating shock waves and high-intensity magnetic fields that wrap electrons around, releasing radio waves in the process. .
Duncan Lorimer, an astrophysicist at the University of West Virginia who was not involved in the latest work, called the discovery “an extremely important development” showing that the magnet is “a truly worthwhile FRB source. trust”.
“In the old days, we thought of magnets, but I think I tend to prefer a one-off source like neutron star fusion,” he said.