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Mysterious signals from space: researchers are getting closer to a solution

Mysterious signals from space: researchers are getting closer to a solution

The radio flashes rapidlyWhat's called Fast radio bursts (FRB)He presented scientists with a puzzle. This phenomenon can emit energy equivalent to what the sun emits in a thousandth of a second 3 full days. About 10,000 FRBs appear in the sky above Earth every day.

➤ Read more: What's behind fast radio bursts from space?

Even more puzzling is the frequency of these fast radio bursts. Just 3% of them blink more than onceMost of them seem to go out after one flash. Therefore, astronomers are searching for the mechanisms behind these radio flashes.

Polarized light examination

Therefore, researchers from the University of Toronto participated 128 non-recurrent FRBs They come from distant galaxies similar to our own Milky Way. “Fast radio bursts are special because they also emit polarized light, so the light waves are only directed in one direction,” says researcher Aayush Pandey. website. Therefore, he specialized in this aspect of the phenomenon.

One Change in polarity It could provide clues about how fast radio bursts are stimulated. Polarization can also provide information about the environment that radiation must pass through before reaching Earth.

Radiation refers to the environment

Non-repeating fast radio bursts have not been sufficiently researched. Scientists It is preferable to focus on repeated radiationBecause it is easier to predict and record. Infrequent signals require the use of a telescope to scan a large area of ​​the sky at once.

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“Other studies have examined the polarization of perhaps 10 non-repeating radio bursts,” says Pandey. “But this is the first time we have examined more than 100.” Both recurrent and infrequent fast radio bursts were found To differentiate Rails.

“When polarized light passes through electrons and magnetic fields, the angle at which it is polarized rotates, and we can measure this rotation,” Pandey said. “So, if the FRB passes through more material, it spins more. If it passes through less, it spins less,” Pandey explains. Light from infrequent fast radio bursts is less rotating than light from recurring radio flashes, which means they probably originated in places with less material around them.

Aren't pulsars responsible after all?

This means that one candidate previously considered responsible for fast radio bursts can be ruled out: rapidly rotating neutron stars, which are called PulsarsThese too Can have a strong magnetic field (magnetars). “We know how pulsars work, and we know what types of polarized light we would expect from a pulsar,” Pandey said. “Surprisingly, we don’t see much similarity between fast radio bursts and pulsar light.”

However, Pandey doesn't know what triggers the radio flashes. However, research can help To rule out different theories. “If you're a detective who likes to solve mysteries, fast radio bursts are a mystery that needs to be solved,” the researcher said.

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