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What Are Fast Radio Bursts?

What Are Fast Radio Bursts?:

Researchers from the Pune-based Tata Institute for Fundamental Research (TIFR) and the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA), have assembled the largest collection of Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) catalogue.

  • The data is from Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME).
  • In 2020, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) spotted FRB for the first time in the Milky Way.

Fast Radio Bursts:

  • FRB are bright bursts of radio waves (radio waves can be produced by astronomical objects with changing magnetic fields) whose durations lie in the millisecond-scale, because of which it is difficult to detect them and determine their position in the sky.
  • It was first discovered in 2007.
  • A defining property of these bursts is their dispersion (scattering or separation), the bursts produce a spectrum of radio waves, and as the waves travel through matter, they spread out or disperse with bursts at higher radio frequencies arriving at telescopes earlier than those at lower frequencies.
  • Dispersion can result in signal degradation in many applications, especially over large distances.
  • This dispersion allows researchers to learn about two important things:
  • They can measure this dispersion to learn about the stuff that radio bursts pass through as they travel toward Earth
  • They can indirectly determine how far apart things are.

The new catalogue significantly expands the current library of known FRBs, and is already yielding clues as to their properties.

  • For instance, the newly discovered bursts appear to fall into two distinct classes: those that repeat, and those that don’t.
  • The repeaters looked different, with each burst lasting slightly longer and emitting more focused radio frequencies than bursts from single, non-repeating FRBs.
  • These differences strongly suggest that emission from repeaters and non-repeaters is generated either by different physical mechanisms or in different astrophysical environments
  • The bursts were evenly distributed in space, seeming to arise from any and all parts of the sky.
  • Bright FRBs occur at a rate of about 800 per day across the entire sky – the most precise estimate of FRBs overall rate to date.