Astrophysicists have for the first time detected a cosmic radio wave explosion in our galaxy and determined its origin, according to research published Wednesday unraveling one of the mysteries of the Universe.
The origins of powerful rapid radio bursts (FRBs) – ultrafast radio emission rays lasting only a few milliseconds – have puzzled scientists since they were first discovered. this is more than a decade.
They are usually outside the galaxy, meaning they originate outside of our galaxy, but on April 28 this year multiple telescopes detected a bright FRB from the same region in the Milky Way. our.
It is also important that they can pin the source: the galactic magnetic field SGR 1935 + 2154.
Magnet stars, young neutron stars, are the most highly magnetic objects in the universe and have long been the leading suspects in the hunt for the origin of these radio explosions.
But this discovery marks the first time that astronomers have been able to directly trace signals back to a magnet.
Christopher Bochenek, whose U.S. Transient Radio Transient Emission Survey 2 (STARE2) is one of the detectors, said that in about a millisecond, the magnetic field emitted energy. the same amount as the Sun’s radio waves in 30 seconds.
He said that the blast was “too bright” theoretically if you had a raw data record from a mobile phone’s 4G LTE receiver and knew what to look for, “you might have found this signal coming from half a galaxy “in phone data.
This energy is comparable to outer-galactic FRBs, he says, reinforcing the case for magnets that are the source of most extrasolar explosions.
There can be as many as 10,000 FRB occurring per day, but these high energy surges were discovered only in 2007.
They have been the subject of heated debate ever since, with small strides to determine their origins aroused great excitement for astronomers.
One problem is that transient flashes are difficult to determine without knowing where to look.
Theories about their origin range from catastrophic events like supernovae to neutron stars, which are super-dense fragments of stars formed after the gravitational collapse of a star.
There are even more bizarre explanations – discounted by astronomers – about extraterrestrial signals.
The latest discovery, published in three articles in the magazine naturedone by pairing observations from terrestrial and space telescopes.
Both STARE2 and Canada’s Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) detected the spark and attributed it to a magnet.
That day finally, this airspace caught the eye of the Five Hundred Meter Aperture Telescope (FAST) in China.
According to Bing Zhang, a researcher at the University of Nevada and part of the team, astronomers who have kept an eye on the magnetic field have entered an “active phase” and are firing X-ray explosions and gamma rays. Exploration.
The FAST didn’t detect FRB itself, but it did detect multiple X-ray bursts from the magnet, he said during a press conference, posing new questions as to why only one explosion was involved. associated with the FRB.
In one nature Comments Amanda Weltman and Anthony Walters, from the High Energy Theory Group, Cosmology and Astrophysics at Cape Town University, said FRB’s bond to a magnet “has the potential to solve a puzzle. key “.
But they say the findings also open up a host of new questions, including what mechanism will produce such rare but bright “radio explosions” with X-ray counterparts?
They wrote: “One promising possibility is that a ray of light from a magnet collides with its surroundings and thus produces shock waves,” they add that these findings underscore the need for cooperation in the field of astronomy and tracking different types of signals.
© Agence France-Presse