Fast radio batteries (FRBs) are often mysterious in nature, but not an uncommon observation in deep space. However, researchers have discovered the first FRB emanating from the Milky Way galaxy, according to a newly published study.
The research details the magnet SGR 1935 + 2154, which was discovered in 2014 but was not until April 2020 when scientists saw it become active again, firing radio waves and X-rays at random intervals.
“We have never seen a burst of radio waves, resembling a rapid burst of radio, from a magnara before,” said study lead author Sandro Mereghetti of the National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF-IASF).
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This FRB is likely to come from a neutron star, approximately 30,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Vulpecula, reports LiveScience. A year of light, which measures distance in space, is approximately 6 trillion miles.
Mereghetti and other researchers discovered FRB using the European Space Agency (ESA) Integral satellite on 28 April.
The “Burst Alert System” sent an alarm about the worldwide discovery “in just a few seconds,” which Merghetti said enabled the scientific community to “act quickly and explore this source in detail.”
Astronomers around the globe also discovered the “short and extremely bright burst of radio waves” through the CHIME radio telescope in Canada also on April 28th. Subsequent confirmations came from California and Utah the next day.
“This is the first ever observational link between magnets and Radio Explosions,” Mereghetti added. “It’s really a great discovery and helps to bring into focus the origin of these mysterious phenomena.”
The study was published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.
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It is unknown how common FRBs are and why some of them repeat and others do not; most of their origins are also mysterious natural.
Some scholars have speculated that they derive from an extraterrestrial civilization. But others, including the Research for the Institute of Foreign Intelligence, or SETI, have said the explanation “really does not make sense”.
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“They come from all over the space” and regulating foreign cooperative behavior, when even one-sided communication takes many billions of years, seems unlikely – put it mildly, “SETI wrote in a September 2019 blog post.
First discovered in 2007, FRBs are relatively new to astronomers and their origins are mysterious. According to ScienceAlert, some of them can generate as much energy as 500 million suns in a few milliseconds.
In July 2018, an FRB that struck Earth was nearly 200 megahertz lower than any other radio explosion ever detected.
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