Recurring radio signals heard from space after 16 days: Study

WION Web Team New Delhi, India Feb 12, 2020, 11.24 AM(IST)

File photo: Milky Way Photograph:( Reuters )

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Researchers from the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) under the Fast Radio Burst Project have noticed a pattern in a series of bursts coming from a single source half a billion light-years from Earth.

Scientists have observed a mysterious space signal deep from space which has been repeating in a 16-day cycle.

The findings are included in the pre-print of a paper on arXiv.

Researchers from the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) under the Fast Radio Burst Project have noticed a pattern in a series of bursts coming from a single source half a billion light-years from Earth.

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This pattern was detected between September 16, 2018 and October 30, 2019 in fast radio bursts (FRBs) which are millisecond-long bursts of radio waves in space. 

In the traced pattern, it used to send radio wave bursts for a period of four days, stopped for a period of 12 days, then this entire process was repeated. 

Usually, individual radio bursts emit once and don't repeat but repeating fast radio bursts are known to send out short, energetic radio waves multiple times. And usually when they repeat, it's sporadic or in a cluster, according to previous observations.

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Researchers are tracing the origin of these mysterious bursts but so far, they have traced myriad sources every burst.

The first repeating fast radio burst traced, FRB 121102, linked back to a small dwarf galaxy containing stars and metals.

FRB 180916 was traced to one of the spiral arms of a Milky Way-esque galaxy. It was also within a star-forming region of the arm, the researchers said.

According to the researchers, the possible cause for such bursts to emit can be orbital motion of a star or an object that acts as a companion in the outskirts of the galaxy. 

Last year, the CHIME/FRB collaboration detected the sources of eight new repeating FRBs and its signal. This recurring signal was traced to a massive spiral galaxy approximately 500 million light years away.