A powerful radio signal from the depths of space was detected
In 2007, astronomers discovered what they (and we all) love the most: the cosmic riddle. Studying the archives of the Parks Observatory in Australia, two researchers discovered a radio signal that the observatory recorded six years ago, but no one noticed. It lasted only a few milliseconds, but it was striking in its strength - the radiation was 500 times more powerful than solar radiation.
Since then, astronomers have been trying to figure out what caused these mysterious emissions. There are many theories: some blame black holes, others blame collisions of neutron stars. Perhaps an object in the center of the galaxy gradually falls into a supermassive black hole - or, on the contrary, this mysterious dark matter interacts with pulsars, causing powerful outbursts of energy. However, none of these theories can yet be proved or disproved by actual evidence, because there is one global problem: the fixed radio signals lasted an insignificant amount of time and then disappeared without a trace.
However, new publications in the journal Nature shed light on the nature of the cosmic anomaly. Just for the second time in history, astronomers finally managed to discover a source that repeats its signal. This phenomenon is called “fast radio bursts” (English fast radio bursts, aka FRB): 13 new signals were detected by the staff of the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment.
So far, scientists have known only one source of FRB with a repeating signal - 121102, which we already wrote about. A new source, FRB 180814. J0422 + 73, was discovered in the summer of 2018 - even before the CHIME equipment finally entered online operation. After the launch, this signal appeared several more times, although it was not yet possible to establish the exact coordinates of the source.
Where do theories about black holes come from then? In fact, the nature of the signal scattering and the relatively small (according to observations) source emitting radio waves with great power indicate that the source itself is in a very aggressive environment - with the highest probability it will be either a black hole or a neutron star. There is another curious hypothesis, according to which a collision of dense objects can serve as a source.
Is it possible to solve this riddle? Can. However, for this, scientists will need to collect much more information - in particular, they will have to find other sources of repetitive signals, as well as some related events, for example, flashes of light in the visible spectrum.