Fast Radio Burst Space

Photo credit: Dr. Peter Klages
Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) scientists have officially discovered the second repeating fast radio burst (FRB) – short bursts of radio waves coming from far outside our Milky Way galaxy – ever recorded. “Until now, there was only one known repeating FRB. Knowing that there is another suggests that there could be more out there. And with more repeaters and more sources available for study, we may be able to understand these cosmic puzzles — where they’re from and what causes them,” said Ingrid Stairs, a member of the CHIME team and an astrophysicist at UBC. Read more for another video and additional information.

A Fast Radio Burst (FRB) is essentially a high-energy astrophysical phenomenon of unknown origin manifested as a transient radio pulse lasting a few milliseconds on average. The first FRB was discovered by Duncan Lorimer and his student David Narkevic back in 2007, when they were looking through archival pulsar survey data. Despite their exact origin and cause being uncertain, they are most certainly extra-galactic.

“Whatever the source of these radio waves is, it’s interesting to see how wide a range of frequencies it can produce. There are some models where intrinsically the source can’t produce anything below a certain frequency,” said team member Arun Naidu of McGill University.