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  • richardmitnick 1:47 pm on July 4, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Cosmic Radio Pulses Probe Hidden Matter Around Galaxies", Fast Radio Bursts,   

    From The California Institute of Technology: “Cosmic Radio Pulses Probe Hidden Matter Around Galaxies” 

    Caltech Logo

    From The California Institute of Technology

    July 04, 2022

    Distant Fast Radio Bursts piercing the gaseous dark matter halos of galaxies in the local universe. Credit: Courtesy of Charles Carter.

    Powerful radio pulses originating deep in the cosmos can be used to study hidden pools of gas cocooning nearby galaxies, according to a new study appearing in the journal Nature.

    So-called fast radio bursts, or FRBs, are pulses of radio waves that typically originate millions to billions of light-years away (radio waves are electromagnetic radiation like the light we see with our eyes but have longer wavelengths and frequencies). The first FRB was discovered in 2007, and since then, hundreds more have been found. In 2020, Caltech’s STARE2 instrument (Survey for Transient Astronomical Radio Emission 2) and Canada’s CHIME (Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment) detected a massive FRB that went off in our own Milky Way galaxy.

    Those earlier results helped confirm the theory that the energetic events most likely originate from dead, magnetized stars called magnetars.

    As more and more FRBs roll in, researchers are now asking how they can be used to study the gas that lies between us and the bursts. In particular, they would like to use the FRBs to probe halos of diffuse gas that surround galaxies. As the radio pulses travel toward Earth, the gas enveloping the galaxies is expected to slow the waves down and disperse the radio frequencies. In the new study, the researchers looked at a sample of 474 distant FRBs detected by CHIME, which has discovered the most FRBs to date, and showed that the subset of two dozen FRBs that passed through galactic halos were indeed slowed down more than non-intersecting FRBs.

    “Our study shows that FRBs can act as skewers of all the matter between our radio telescopes and the source of the radio waves,” says lead author Liam Connor, the Tolman Postdoctoral Scholar Research Associate in Astronomy, who works with assistant professor of astronomy and study co-author, Vikram Ravi.

    “We have used fast radio bursts to shine a light through the halos of galaxies near the Milky Way and measure their hidden material,” Connor says.

    The study also reports finding more matter around the galaxies than expected—specifically, about twice as much gas as theoretical models predicted.

    All galaxies are surrounded and fed by massive pools of gas out of which they were born. However, the gas is very thin and hard to detect. “These gaseous reservoirs are enormous. If the human eye could see the spherical halo that surrounds the nearby Andromeda galaxy, the halo would appear one thousand times larger than the moon,” Connor says.

    Researchers have developed different techniques to study the hidden halos. For instance, Caltech professor of physics Christopher Martin and his team developed an instrument at the W. M. Keck Observatory called the Keck Cosmic Webb Imager (KCWI) that can probe the filaments of gas that stream into galaxies from the halos.

    This new FRB method allows astronomers to measure the total amount of material in the halos, which will help piece together a picture of how galaxies grow and evolve over cosmic time.

    “This is just the start,” says Ravi. “As we discover more FRBs, our techniques can be applied to study individual halos of different sizes and in different environments, addressing the unsolved problem of how matter is distributed in the universe.”

    In the future, the FRB discoveries are expected to continue streaming in. Caltech’s 110-dish Deep Synoptic Array, or DSA-110, has already detected several FRBs and identified their host galaxies. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), this project is located at Caltech’s Owen Valley Radio Observatory near Bishop, California.

    In the coming years, Caltech researchers have plans to build an even bigger array, the DSA-2000, which will include 2,000 dishes and be the most powerful radio observatory ever built. The DSA-2000, currently being designed with funding from Schmidt Futures and the NSF, will detect and identify the source of thousands of FRBs per year.

    The science paper is published in Nature.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Caltech campus

    The The California Institute of Technology is a private research university in Pasadena, California. The university is known for its strength in science and engineering, and is one among a small group of institutes of technology in the United States which is primarily devoted to the instruction of pure and applied sciences.

    The California Institute of Technology was founded as a preparatory and vocational school by Amos G. Throop in 1891 and began attracting influential scientists such as George Ellery Hale, Arthur Amos Noyes, and Robert Andrews Millikan in the early 20th century. The vocational and preparatory schools were disbanded and spun off in 1910 and the college assumed its present name in 1920. In 1934, The California Institute of Technology was elected to the Association of American Universities, and the antecedents of National Aeronautics and Space Administration ‘s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which The California Institute of Technology continues to manage and operate, were established between 1936 and 1943 under Theodore von Kármán.

    The California Institute of Technology has six academic divisions with strong emphasis on science and engineering. Its 124-acre (50 ha) primary campus is located approximately 11 mi (18 km) northeast of downtown Los Angeles. First-year students are required to live on campus, and 95% of undergraduates remain in the on-campus House System at The California Institute of Technology. Although The California Institute of Technology has a strong tradition of practical jokes and pranks, student life is governed by an honor code which allows faculty to assign take-home examinations. The The California Institute of Technology Beavers compete in 13 intercollegiate sports in the NCAA Division III’s Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC).

    As of October 2020, there are 76 Nobel laureates who have been affiliated with The California Institute of Technology, including 40 alumni and faculty members (41 prizes, with chemist Linus Pauling being the only individual in history to win two unshared prizes). In addition, 4 Fields Medalists and 6 Turing Award winners have been affiliated with The California Institute of Technology. There are 8 Crafoord Laureates and 56 non-emeritus faculty members (as well as many emeritus faculty members) who have been elected to one of the United States National Academies. Four Chief Scientists of the U.S. Air Force and 71 have won the United States National Medal of Science or Technology. Numerous faculty members are associated with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute as well as National Aeronautics and Space Administration. According to a 2015 Pomona College study, The California Institute of Technology ranked number one in the U.S. for the percentage of its graduates who go on to earn a PhD.


    The California Institute of Technology is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity”. Caltech was elected to The Association of American Universities in 1934 and remains a research university with “very high” research activity, primarily in STEM fields. The largest federal agencies contributing to research are National Aeronautics and Space Administration; National Science Foundation; Department of Health and Human Services; Department of Defense, and Department of Energy.

    In 2005, The California Institute of Technology had 739,000 square feet (68,700 m^2) dedicated to research: 330,000 square feet (30,700 m^2) to physical sciences, 163,000 square feet (15,100 m^2) to engineering, and 160,000 square feet (14,900 m^2) to biological sciences.

    In addition to managing NASA-JPL/Caltech , The California Institute of Technology also operates the Caltech Palomar Observatory; the Owens Valley Radio Observatory;the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory; the W. M. Keck Observatory at the Mauna Kea Observatory; the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory at Livingston, Louisiana and Hanford, Washington; and Kerckhoff Marine Laboratory in Corona del Mar, California. The Institute launched the Kavli Nanoscience Institute at The California Institute of Technology in 2006; the Keck Institute for Space Studies in 2008; and is also the current home for the Einstein Papers Project. The Spitzer Science Center, part of the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center located on The California Institute of Technology campus, is the data analysis and community support center for NASA’s Spitzer Infrared Space Telescope [no longer in service].

    The California Institute of Technology partnered with University of California at Los Angeles to establish a Joint Center for Translational Medicine (UCLA-Caltech JCTM), which conducts experimental research into clinical applications, including the diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as cancer.

    The California Institute of Technology operates several Total Carbon Column Observing Network stations as part of an international collaborative effort of measuring greenhouse gases globally. One station is on campus.

  • richardmitnick 8:26 pm on March 18, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "GBT & FAST reveal new origins of bright radio flashes in the Universe", Fast Radio Bursts, FRB’s come from something so energetic that it can be detected across the Universe and a few of them actually repeat., , Radio astronomers now know that there are thousands to hundreds of thousands of these FRB's hitting Earth every day., The study of the polarization of FRBs and the changes they undergo until detected by our telescopes on Earth tells us about the environments where they are born and all the space in between.   

    From The Green Bank Observatory: “GBT & FAST reveal new origins of bright radio flashes in the Universe” 


    Green Bank Radio Telescope, West Virginia, USA, now the center piece of the Green Bank Observatory(US), being cut loose by the National Science Foundation(US), supported by Breakthrough Listen Project, West Virginia University, and operated by the nonprofit Associated Universities, Inc..


    From The Green Bank Observatory

    Jill Malusky

    Image credit: National Astronomical Observatories Xinglong Observatory [兴隆观测站](CN), ScienceApe, The Chinese Academy of Sciences [中国科学院](CN)

    Scientists using the National Science Foundation’s Green Bank Telescope (GBT) and China’s Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST) have teamed up to shed light on the origin of the thousands of mysterious fast radio bursts that hit the Earth each day from locations far beyond the Milky Way.


    Green Bank Radio Telescope, West Virginia, USA, now the center piece of the Green Bank Observatory(US), being cut loose by the National Science Foundation(US), supported by Breakthrough Listen Project, West Virginia University, and operated by the nonprofit The Associated Universities, Inc.(US).

    Fast Radio Bursts, called FRBs for short, were discovered by accident more than 15 years ago. These intense broadband flashes of radio emission last only a thousandth of a second. After the first one was discovered, radio telescopes spent hundreds of hours looking to see if it would flash again, but it was quiet. Radio astronomers now know that there are thousands to hundreds of thousands of these flashes hitting Earth every day, that they come from something so energetic that it can be detected across the Universe, and that a few of them actually repeat. But their origin is still a mystery.

    Are the “repeaters” a different object from the others who give off a single flash and then are silent? The new data from FAST and the GBT focused on one particular aspect of the radio bursts: their polarization.

    Radio waves can be broken down into a part that goes up and down, and a part that goes side to side. In many cases the two parts have the same intensity. But for others, and repeating FRBs in particular, one direction is favored over the other. Astronomers call this polarization. The emission from a FRB traverses an enormous distance before hitting Earth, passing through regions that can put their own particular twist on the radio polarization. For this reason, the study of the polarization of FRBs, and the changes it undergoes until it is detected by our telescopes on Earth, tells us about the environments where they are born and all the space in between.

    A research team led by Dr. Di Li from the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC) has analyzed the polarization properties of five repeating FRB sources using FAST to cover one set of radio frequencies and the GBT to cover another. They found that the polarization properties of FRBs depended on the observed frequency, and that the properties could evolve on relatively short times as well.

    The degree of linear polarization for FRB sources is consistent with RM scattering. Image credit NAOC.

    This can be understood if repeating FRB emission passes through a complex environment around the bursting sources, which could be a supernova remnant, a pulsar wind nebula, or a plasma near massive black holes. If FRBs are born in explosive events, as many theories predict, then the more complex environments can be easily explained as coming from more recent explosions, which would suggest a link between the activity level of an FRB and its age.

    “These extremely active FRBs could be a distinct population. With these measurements we start to see the evolutionary trend in FRBs, with more active sources in more complex environments and larger polarization changes being younger explosions,” said Dr. Yi Feng, the first author of the paper, now a permanent scientist at the Zhejiang National Laboratory in Hangzhou, China.

    “The key to this discovery”, said Dr. Ryan Lynch of the Green Bank Observatory, “is the combination of the data from two of the world’s largest radio telescopes. The picture would be incomplete with just one. It’s a great example of how different telescopes, with different strengths, can work together to advance science.”

    The study was published in Science on March 18, 2022.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition


    Mission Statement

    The Green Bank Observatory enables leading edge research at radio wavelengths by offering telescope, facility and advanced instrumentation access to the astronomy community as well as to other basic and applied research communities. With radio astronomy as its foundation, the Green Bank Observatory is a world leader in advancing research, innovation, and education.

    Green Bank Observatory campus


    60 years ago, the trailblazers of American radio astronomy declared this facility their home, establishing the first ever National Radio Astronomy Observatory within the United States and the first ever national laboratory dedicated to open access science. Today their legacy is alive and well.

  • richardmitnick 10:25 pm on March 19, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Searching the Surroundings of a Fast Radio Burst", , , , , , Fast Radio Bursts, FRB 20180916B   

    From AAS NOVA: “Searching the Surroundings of a Fast Radio Burst” 


    From AAS NOVA

    19 March 2021
    Tarini Konchady

    Artist’s conception of the localization of a fast radio burst to its host galaxy. Credit: Danielle Futselaar.

    Fast radio bursts are mysterious astronomical phenomena — for now. To understand how they form, we need to take a closer look at where they live. A new study does just that, with the help of some very sensitive astronomical instruments.

    The Fascination of Fast Radio Bursts

    Fast radio bursts (FRBs) are exactly what they say they are: short, bright radio signals that last milliseconds at most. Their energy levels make them especially intriguing, since there aren’t many processes that can produce such large amounts of energy so quickly. Another constraint is that FRBs have been detected in all kinds of galaxies, meaning that whatever produces FRBs can’t be overly unique.

    Radio telescopes today have the capability to precisely isolate FRBs in their host galaxies, meaning that we can probe the environments that produce FRB sources. The closest known FRB we’ve confidently isolated is called FRB 20180916B (though see this post for a new discovery that may be closer!), which is nearly 500 million light-years away. High-resolution observations have shown that FRB 20180916B is located in a distinct star-forming region, but what can we see if we look even closer?

    In a recent study, a group of researchers led by Shriharsh P. Tendulkar (Tata Institute of Fundamental Research(IN)) studied the surroundings of FRB 20180916B in the highest detail yet, getting down to a scale of hundreds of light-years.

    Searching Through Gas and Stars

    For their study, Tendulkar and collaborators used the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) on the Hubble Space Telescope and the MEGARA spectrograph on the Gran Telescopio Canarias. Taken together, the observations span mainly optical wavelengths, which are sensitive to gas and stars.

    Gran Telescopio Canarias at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory [Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias ](ES) on the island of La Palma sited on a volcanic peak 2,267 metres (7,438 ft) above sea level.

    The velocity of gas in the host galaxy of FRB 20180916B, with the location of the FRB shown by a red cross. The contours come from Hubble images of the galaxy and depend on the flux detected in the image. [Adapted from Tendulkar et al. 2021]

    The gas serves two important functions: it can be used to determine how much star formation is happening in a region, and it can also be used to measure motion. Tendulkar and collaborators used the latter property to determine that FRB 20180916B’s home region is likely rotating with the large galaxy in its vicinity. This rules out the possibility that the FRB source is actually hosted in a smaller, less distinct satellite galaxy.

    The star-forming region closest to FRB 20180916B as seen by Hubble, with its V-shape highlighted. The FRB’s location is shown by the green ellipse with a green arrow pointing towards it. [Adapted from Tendulkar et al. 2021]

    Running Away from Home

    Tendulkar and collaborators also found that the star formation happening around FRB 20180916B is at an interesting stage: it’s not extremely active, but it hasn’t gone placid either, suggesting that the region is still rather young.

    FRB 20180916B is also a significant distance from the nearest group of stars. So, if the FRB source was born in that group, it had to have traveled between 800,000 to 7 million years to get to where it is now. This puts constraints on what the source of FRB 20180916B is, since not many astronomical objects can remain as energetic as FRB sources as they age.

    So what’s behind FRB 20180916B? After considering possible scenarios, Tendulkar and collaborators zero in on X-ray or gamma-ray binaries, which consist of a neutron star and a massive companion star. However, to be certain that these sorts of objects are FRB sources, we’d need large samples of well-studied binaries — which is certainly doable with the radio telescopes we have now!


    “The 60 pc Environment of FRB 20180916B,” Shriharsh P. Tendulkar et al 2021 ApJL 908 L12.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition


    The American Astronomical Society(US) is an American society of professional astronomers and other interested individuals, headquartered in Washington, DC. The primary objective of the AAS is to promote the advancement of astronomy and closely related branches of science, while the secondary purpose includes enhancing astronomy education and providing a political voice for its members through lobbying and grassroots activities. Its current mission is to enhance and share humanity’s scientific understanding of the universe.

    AAS Mission and Vision Statement

    The mission of the American Astronomical Society is to enhance and share humanity’s scientific understanding of the Universe.

    The Society, through its publications, disseminates and archives the results of astronomical research. The Society also communicates and explains our understanding of the universe to the public.
    The Society facilitates and strengthens the interactions among members through professional meetings and other means. The Society supports member divisions representing specialized research and astronomical interests.
    The Society represents the goals of its community of members to the nation and the world. The Society also works with other scientific and educational societies to promote the advancement of science.
    The Society, through its members, trains, mentors and supports the next generation of astronomers. The Society supports and promotes increased participation of historically underrepresented groups in astronomy.
    The Society assists its members to develop their skills in the fields of education and public outreach at all levels. The Society promotes broad interest in astronomy, which enhances science literacy and leads many to careers in science and engineering.

    Adopted June 7, 2009

    The society was founded in 1899 through the efforts of George Ellery Hale. The constitution of the group was written by Hale, George Comstock, Edward Morley, Simon Newcomb and Edward Charles Pickering. These men, plus four others, were the first Executive Council of the society; Newcomb was the first president. The initial membership was 114. The AAS name of the society was not finally decided until 1915, previously it was the “Astronomical and Astrophysical Society of America”. One proposed name that preceded this interim name was “American Astrophysical Society”.

    The AAS today has over 7,000 members and six divisions – the Division for Planetary Sciences (1968); the Division on Dynamical Astronomy (1969); the High Energy Astrophysics Division (1969); the Solar Physics Division (1969); the Historical Astronomy Division (1980); and the Laboratory Astrophysics Division (2012). The membership includes physicists, mathematicians, geologists, engineers and others whose research interests lie within the broad spectrum of subjects now comprising contemporary astronomy.

    In 2019 three AAS members were selected into the tenth anniversary class of TED Fellows.

    The AAS established the AAS Fellows program in 2019 to “confer recognition upon AAS members for achievement and extraordinary service to the field of astronomy and the American Astronomical Society.” The inaugural class was designated by the AAS Board of Trustees and includes an initial group of 232 Legacy Fellows.

  • richardmitnick 8:39 am on December 10, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "IceCube pipeline responds quickly to transient phenomena reported by other observatories", Bright gamma-ray bursts, Extreme blazar flares, Fast Radio Bursts, , , ,   

    From U Wisconsin IceCube Collaboration: “IceCube pipeline responds quickly to transient phenomena reported by other observatories” 

    U Wisconsin ICECUBE neutrino detector at the South Pole, elevation of 2,835 metres (9,301 feet)

    From U Wisconsin IceCube Collaboration

    09 Dec 2020
    Madeleine O’Keefe

    The IceCube Neutrino Observatory, an array of over 5,000 light sensors embedded in a cubic-kilometer of ice at the South Pole, was built to detect astrophysical neutrinos: mysterious and nearly massless particles that carry information about the most energetic events in the cosmos. Every time IceCube sees something that might be a cosmic neutrino, it sends an alert to a network of telescopes and observatories around the world and in space, telling them to turn and look at that same spot in the sky. These other instruments see the universe in different ways; many detect photons of different wavelengths, from radio waves to gamma rays, while others detect different “messengers” entirely, like gravitational waves or neutrinos. Together, detections from different messengers give us a more complete picture of the cosmos.

    The study of the universe with multiple channels—a field known as multimessenger astronomy—is valuable for investigating a number of questions, including learning about the sources of astrophysical neutrinos, one of IceCube’s main scientific goals. So rather than just waiting for neutrinos to come to IceCube, IceCube can also follow up on detections made by other telescopes. And since IceCube can observe the entire sky simultaneously and is “on” more than 99 percent of the time, it can provide unique and valuable insight for other observatories.

    Since 2016, the IceCube Collaboration has used a fast-response analysis pipeline to perform follow-up neutrino searches on interesting detections in other messengers that might have neutrino counterparts. As of July 2020, the pipeline led to 58 analyses, none of which found significant neutrino signals but enabled researchers to constrain neutrino emission from some potential sources. The collaboration described their results in a paper recently submitted to The Astrophysical Journal.

    Results of IceCube’s follow-up for the gamma-ray burst GRB190114C, one of the only GRBs to ever be detected by a ground-based gamma-ray telescope. This plot shows the flux as a function of energy, where blue tones are results from various wavelengths of light, from X-rays (left) to very high energy gamma rays (right). The upper limit on the high-energy neutrino flux, one of the results reported in the paper, is shown by the solid magenta line. Credit: IceCube Collaboration.

    “The motivation for this analysis is to take the idea of neutrino alerts and turn it on its head,” says Alex Pizzuto, a doctoral student at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and a lead on this analysis. “Instead of sending out interesting neutrinos to the community and letting observers follow up on our events, we take interesting events reported in other messengers, like photons, and check to see if there are neutrinos coming from the same object. And we do it all in real time.”

    Pizzuto and his collaborators have been doing this since 2016 when they established a fast-response analysis pipeline. The pipeline monitors various channels where astronomers announce interesting observations (such as the Gamma-ray Coordinates Network and the The Astronomer’s Telegram) and identifies potentially interesting detections. Then, IceCube researchers evaluate whether the target is a viable neutrino emitter and whether it would be useful for IceCube to check it out. If yes, the researchers determine a time frame around the event of interest and use the pipeline to rapidly perform a statistical analysis of IceCube data to see if any neutrino candidate events correlate with the target in time and direction. When the analysis is complete, the researchers send out their results via the same channels they were monitoring in the first place.

    As of July 2020, the pipeline has led to 58 analyses, none of which found a statistically significant signal of neutrinos. But the researchers were able to use the pipeline to put constraints on some of the source classes they studied, including fast radio bursts, extreme blazar flares, bright gamma-ray bursts, and gravitational waves. Pizzuto says that they are already seeing some of their limits incorporated into models of potential neutrino sources.

    “Unlike most telescopes, IceCube observes the entire sky (including both hemispheres), all the time (including both day and night),” according to Justin Vandenbroucke, a UW–Madison physics professor and another lead on the paper. “So whenever a new astrophysical transient event is reported by another observatory, we know IceCube was also looking there then. Our pipeline enables us to rapidly search for neutrinos and report the results. This real-time approach to multimessenger astrophysics has enabled the key discoveries of the field so far, and will continue to in the future.”

    Looking ahead, the researchers plan to continue running the pipeline. They hope that this analysis will identify a multimessenger source in the future. In the meantime, they are studying a variety of source classes with this tool. And there is a plan to use this pipeline to search for additional neutrinos coming from the same directions as the high-energy neutrinos that trigger IceCube alerts.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition
    IceCube is a particle detector at the South Pole that records the interactions of a nearly massless sub-atomic particle called the neutrino. IceCube searches for neutrinos from the most violent astrophysical sources: events like exploding stars, gamma ray bursts, and cataclysmic phenomena involving black holes and neutron stars. The IceCube telescope is a powerful tool to search for dark matter, and could reveal the new physical processes associated with the enigmatic origin of the highest energy particles in nature. In addition, exploring the background of neutrinos produced in the atmosphere, IceCube studies the neutrinos themselves; their energies far exceed those produced by accelerator beams. IceCube is the world’s largest neutrino detector, encompassing a cubic kilometer of ice.

    IceCube neutrino detector interior.

    IceCube employs more than 5000 detectors lowered on 86 strings into almost 100 holes in the Antarctic ice NSF B. Gudbjartsson, IceCube Collaboration

    Lunar Icecube

    IceCube DeepCore annotated

    IceCube PINGU annotated

    DM-Ice II at IceCube annotated

    U Wisconsin IceCube Gen2 facility

  • richardmitnick 1:46 pm on July 3, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Fast Radio Bursts,   

    From Sky & Telescope: “Astronomers Identify Host Galaxy of a Third Radio Flash” 

    SKY&Telescope bloc

    From Sky & Telescope

    July 3, 2019
    Monica Young

    Astronomers have narrowed down the location of a third “fast radio burst” to a galaxy very like the Milky Way.

    Just one week after astronomers announced an incredible feat — identifying the galaxy that hosted a flash of radio waves that lasted only a fraction of a second — an independent team has done it again. The results take us one step closer to understanding the origins of the mysterious fast radio bursts.

    Vikram Ravi (Caltech) and colleagues report July 2nd in Nature that they have pinpointed the source of fast radio burst 190523 via a technique called radio interferometry. The radio waves appear to come from a massive galaxy that’s much like the Milky Way.

    10 dish array at Owens Valley Radio Observatory, near Big Pine, California USA, Altitude 1,222 m (4,009 ft used by Vikram Ravi and colleagues (Caltech)

    Where do Fast Radio Bursts Come From?

    Fast radio bursts (FRBs) are millsecond-long flashes of radio waves that sweep downward in frequency — an indication that they’ve traveled billions of light-years from their source to Earth. But here’s the rub: Astronomers have no real idea what the sources of FRBs are.

    Given the huge distances involved, it’s unlikely that astronomers will ever image the sources themselves, but a good start is to home in on the sources’ locations; that is, to understand what kind of galaxies host them.

    A composite image of the field around the first repeating fast radio burst, FRB 121102 (indicated), showed that the burst came from a star-forming dwarf galaxy. Gemini Observatory / AURA / NSF / NRC

    The first FRB that astronomers ever pinned down was FRB 121102. This source was unusual because — unlike the vast majority of FRBs — it repeated. The many pulses gave astronomers the opportunity to locate the source, which lies within a large star formation region in a dwarf galaxy 3 billion light-years away. The repeating bursts and the high rate of star formation were both consistent with a scenario where the birth of a highly magnetized neutron star, known as a magnetar, sets off a flash of radio waves.

    The second localized FRB, though, countered that scenario. FRB 180924 came from an aging galaxy, where essentially zero stars are being born. Since neutron stars form when massive, fast-burning stars collapse, the magnetar scenario is basically ruled out, at least for this source.

    Now, Ravi’s team has used an array of 10 radio dishes, part of a prototype for the upcoming Deep Synoptic Array at the Owens Valley Radio Observatory, to quickly home in on a third burst, FRB 190523.

    The Deep Synoptic Array ten-antenna prototype (DSA-10) searches for fast radio bursts within a sky-area the size of 150 full moons (left). Within this area, the DSA-10 can localize bursts, isolating them to regions containing just one galaxy (middle). The right panel shows the so-called “profile” of the fast radio burst FRB 190523.
    Caltech / OVRO / V. Ravi

    A deep image of the surrounding field, taken later with the Keck I telescope, shows only one galaxy, PSO 1207.0643+72.4708.

    Keck Observatory, operated by Caltech and the University of California, Maunakea, Hawaii, USA.4,207 m (13,802 ft), above sea level,

    The galaxy is massive, roughly Milky Way-sized with a Milky Way-like star formation rate of about 1 Sun per year. If this is indeed the source’s home, its radio waves traveled more than 6 billion light-years to Earth.

    If the host galaxy is like the Milky Way, that begs the question: Could our galaxy ever host one of these mysterious bursts? Eventually, Ravi says: “The lower limit on the rate in a Milky Way-like galaxy is one every 100 years. But we also think that FRBs are beamed, so that there are probably heaps that occur where we don’t see, because they’re pointed elsewhere. So the rate could be much higher.”

    Such a burst would produce radio waves at a rate a billion times that of the Sun — impressive, to be sure, but not compared to what humans make: “That’s only as bright as a typical mobile phone at a distance of 10 meters,” Ravi says.

    Fast Radio Burst Sources and the In-between

    “Interestingly, both host galaxies of FRB 180924 and FRB 190523 are more similar to each other than they are to the host of FRB121102 (the repeater),” says Keith Bannister (CSIRO), who led the team that found the host galaxy of the FRB 180924.

    The magnetar explanation also seems unlikely for FRB 190523, then, and it’s tempting to conclude that different scenarios apply for repeating and non-repeating bursts. But it’s important to note that, while no additional radio flashes have been detected from either source, it’s still possible they could repeat. The better we can pinpoint FRBs, the more conclusive the results will be.

    “We localized our FRB 180924 to an area about 1,000 times smaller than the FRB 190523,” says Bannister. But, he notes, the newer burst comes from much farther away. “It’s exciting that they have localized a burst from such a distant galaxy.”

    A distant source is useful because, in addition to wanting to understand what generates these powerful flashes of radio waves, astronomers also want to use them to study the hot, sparse gas between galaxies. This practically unseeable gas holds most of the universe’s “normal” (i.e., not dark) matter and helps form the large-scale “web” that shapes the cosmos, and studying it is vital to understanding how galaxies grow.

    As astronomers apply new radio telescopes (or rather, prototypes of still-larger telescopes to come) toward finding new fast radio bursts, the field is starting to yield some answers — and lots more questions.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Sky & Telescope magazine, founded in 1941 by Charles A. Federer Jr. and Helen Spence Federer, has the largest, most experienced staff of any astronomy magazine in the world. Its editors are virtually all amateur or professional astronomers, and every one has built a telescope, written a book, done original research, developed a new product, or otherwise distinguished him or herself.

    Sky & Telescope magazine, now in its eighth decade, came about because of some happy accidents. Its earliest known ancestor was a four-page bulletin called The Amateur Astronomer, which was begun in 1929 by the Amateur Astronomers Association in New York City. Then, in 1935, the American Museum of Natural History opened its Hayden Planetarium and began to issue a monthly bulletin that became a full-size magazine called The Sky within a year. Under the editorship of Hans Christian Adamson, The Sky featured large illustrations and articles from astronomers all over the globe. It immediately absorbed The Amateur Astronomer.

    Despite initial success, by 1939 the planetarium found itself unable to continue financial support of The Sky. Charles A. Federer, who would become the dominant force behind Sky & Telescope, was then working as a lecturer at the planetarium. He was asked to take over publishing The Sky. Federer agreed and started an independent publishing corporation in New York.

    “Our first issue came out in January 1940,” he noted. “We dropped from 32 to 24 pages, used cheaper quality paper…but editorially we further defined the departments and tried to squeeze as much information as possible between the covers.” Federer was The Sky’s editor, and his wife, Helen, served as managing editor. In that January 1940 issue, they stated their goal: “We shall try to make the magazine meet the needs of amateur astronomy, so that amateur astronomers will come to regard it as essential to their pursuit, and professionals to consider it a worthwhile medium in which to bring their work before the public.”

  • richardmitnick 10:58 am on May 30, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Dark Matter: Checkmate?, Fast Radio Bursts, ,   

    From MEDIUM: “Dark Matter: Checkmate?” 

    From Medium

    Jan 10, 2018
    Robert Oldershaw

    No image caption or credit

    For a couple of years I have been arguing that if Fast Radio Bursts are associated with stellar-mass black holes, then the identity of the enigmatic dark matter will have been revealed. Today the premier scientific journal Nature has published a paper [An extreme magneto-ionic environment associated with the fast radio burst source FRB 121102]presenting strong evidence that FRBs are associated with stellar-mass ultracompacts, with black holes being a prime suspect, although neutron stars are the more conservative choice. Both, however, are stellar-mass ultracompact objects.

    Stellar-mass primordial black holes, of the Kerr-Newman class, could constitute the sources of the estimated 6,000/day Fast Radio Bursts that have been discovered/inferred in the last few years by several astrophysical research groups (Science News, Aug. 9, 2014 issue; and many papers subsequently posted to the arxiv preprint repository).
    PBHs would also constitute a viable candidate population for the 100,000,000,000 MACHOs that have been discovered through microlensing research, and for the galactic dark matter that has remained unidentified for over 35 years.

    So let’s summarize the evidence:

    Microlensing research implies a very large population of BHs.
    Gamma-Ray Burst research implies large populations of BHs.
    LIGO/VIRGO gravitational wave events imply unexpectedly large populations of BHs.
    Fast Radio Burst research now hints at extremely large populations of ultracompact objects: BHs or NSs.
    Correlations between the X-ray and IR backgrounds suggest the dark matter is composed of stellar-mass BHs.

    Maybe we are not quite ready to shut down the heroic WIMP searches yet, but they and other searches for exotic particles have come up empty for 40 years. I think we are rapidly approaching a convincing answer to a question that has plagued us for decades: the dark matter is probably composed of stellar-mass black holes, and they are as fundamental as any object in nature.

    See the full article here .



    Stem Education Coalition

  • richardmitnick 7:48 am on February 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Astronomers peer into the lair of a mysterious source of cosmic radio bursts, , , , , Fast Radio Bursts, , ,   

    From GBO: “Astronomers peer into the lair of a mysterious source of cosmic radio bursts” 


    Green Bank Radio Telescope, West Virginia, USA
    Green Bank Radio Telescope, West Virginia, USA


    Green Bank Observatory

    Paul Vosteen
    Media Specialist; Education & Public Outreach
    Green Bank Observatory

    Dr. Jason Hessels, University of Amsterdam, Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy / ASTRON – Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy
    E-mail: J.W.T.Hessels@uva.nl
    Tel: +31 (0)610260062

    Daniele Michilli, University of Amsterdam, Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy / ASTRON – Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy
    E-mail: danielemichilli@gmail.com

    Dr. Andrew Seymour, National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center Arecibo Observatory, Puerto Rico
    E-mail: seymour.andrew@gmail.com

    Dr. Laura Spitler, Max-Planck-Institute for Radioastronomy, Bonn, Germany
    E-mail: lspitler@mpifr-bonn.mpg.de

    Dr. Shami Chatterjee, Cornell University
    Tel: +1 (607) 279 2076
    E-mail: shami@astro.cornell.edu

    Dr. Ryan Lynch, Green Bank Observatory
    Tel: 1+ (304) 456 2357
    E-mail: rlynch@nrao.edu

    Artist concept of fast radio burst. Image Credit: Design: Danielle Futselaar; photo usage: shutterstock.com

    Using two of the world’s largest radio telescopes, an international team of astronomers have gained new insight into the extreme home of a mysterious source of cosmic radio bursts. The discovery suggests that the source of the radio emission lies near a massive black hole or within an extremely powerful nebula, and may help shed light on what is causing these strange bursts.

    The team presented their findings at the American Astronomical Society’s winter meeting (#AAS231) in Washington, D.C. The results are presented in the journal Nature.

    Using data from the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico and the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia, researchers have shown that the radio bursts from an object known as FRB121102 have a property known as polarization, and are “twisted” through a process called Faraday rotation.

    NAIC/Arecibo Observatory, Puerto Rico, USA, at 497 m (1,631 ft)

    “I couldn’t believe my eyes when I first saw the data. Such extreme Faraday rotation is unprecedented,” says Jason Hessels of the University of Amsterdam and ASTRON (Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy), the leader of the team.

    FRB121102 is an example of a fast radio burst (FRB) – a mysterious and very short flash of radio waves emanating from deep in extragalactic space. The home galaxy of FRB121102 is located 3 billion light-years from Earth; at this distance, the bursts must be nearly 100 million times more powerful than the Sun to be seen from Earth. The cause of FRBs is one of the biggest mysteries in astronomy today. “FRB 121102 was already unique because it repeats, which hasn’t yet been observed in any other FRBs; now the huge Faraday rotation we have detected singles it out yet again. We’re curious as to whether these two unique aspects are linked,” says Daniele Michilli, a PhD candidate at the University of Amsterdam and ASTRON (Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy).

    Faraday rotation occurs when polarized light travels through a strongly magnetized, hot gas known as plasma. Faraday rotation this strong has not been found anywhere else in the Universe, though the conditions near the black hole that lies at the center of Earth’s own Milky Way galaxy come close. This leads researchers to propose that FRB121102 could be located near a massive black hole of its own, or embedded within the remains of a dead star.

    Key to the discovery was detecting the bursts at a higher radio frequency than ever before. “At the Arecibo Observatory, we developed a new observing setup and additional hardware that allowed us to observe at these higher frequencies,” says Andrew Seymour, staff astronomer at the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center, which operates Arecibo. “What’s more, one of the bursts we detected lasted less than 30 microseconds. Such a short duration argues that the bursts originate from a neutron star in an extreme environment of magnetized plasma,” he adds.

    “Our partners in the Breakthrough Listen project were able to use the Green Bank Telescope and a fantastic new instrument that they built to observe this source over the widest range of radio frequencies to-date, confirming what had been seen at Arecibo Observatory. It’s such a surprising result, so this was a really important step in convincing everyone that this unprecedented degree of Faraday rotation is real,” explains Ryan Lynch, a staff scientist at the Green Bank Observatory.

    As a fun way of visualizing the shapes of the bursts, team member Anne Archibald (University of Amsterdam) has made 3D printed models, which show the brightness of each burst as a function of both time and the observed radio frequency. These designs are freely available for download at https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2723399.

    In future research, the astronomers hope to distinguish between the two leading hypotheses – either a neutron star near a black hole or one embedded in a powerful nebula – or possibly other, more exotic interpretations, by monitoring how the Faraday rotation and other properties of the bursts change with time. With a number of wide-field radio telescopes now coming online, more such sources are expected to be discovered in the coming year, and astronomers are poised to answer more fundamental questions about FRBs.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Mission Statement

    Green Bank Observatory enables leading edge research at radio wavelengths by offering telescope, facility and advanced instrumentation access to the astronomy community as well as to other basic and applied research communities. With radio astronomy as its foundation, the Green Bank Observatory is a world leader in advancing research, innovation, and education.


    60 years ago, the trailblazers of American radio astronomy declared this facility their home, establishing the first ever National Radio Astronomy Observatory within the United States and the first ever national laboratory dedicated to open access science. Today their legacy is alive and well.

  • richardmitnick 5:51 pm on April 4, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Fast Radio Bursts, , ,   

    From Swinburne: “Mysterious bursts of energy do come from outer space” 

    Swinburne U bloc

    Swinburne University

    Artist’s impression shows three bright red flashes depicting fast radio bursts far beyond the Milky Way, appearing in the constellations Puppis and Hydra. Credit: James Josephides/Mike Dalley.

    3 April 2017
    Lea Kivivali
    +61 3 9214 5428

    Fast Radio Bursts present one of modern astronomy’s greatest mysteries: what or who in the Universe is transmitting short bursts of radio energy across the cosmos?

    Manisha Caleb, a PhD candidate at Australian National University, Swinburne University of Technology and the ARC Centre of Excellence for All-sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO), has confirmed that the mystery bursts of radio waves that astronomers have hunted for ten years really do come from outer space.

    Ms Caleb worked with Swinburne and University of Sydney colleagues to detect three of these Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) with the Molonglo radio telescope 40 km from Canberra.

    U Sidney Molonglo Observatory Synthesis Telescope (MOST), Hoskinstown, Australia

    Discovered almost 10 years ago at CSIRO’s Parkes radio telescope, Fast Radio Bursts are millisecond-duration intense pulses of radio light that appear to be coming from vast distances.

    CSIRO/Parkes Observatory, located 20 kilometres north of the town of Parkes, New South Wales, Australia

    They are about a billion times more luminous than anything we have ever seen in our own Milky Way galaxy.

    One potential explanation of the mystery is that they weren’t really coming from outer space, but were some form of local interference tricking astronomers into searching for new theories of their ‘impossible’ radio energy.

    “Perhaps the most bizarre explanation for the FRBs is that they were alien transmissions,” says ARC Laureate Fellow Professor Matthew Bailes from Swinburne.

    “Conventional single dish radio telescopes have difficulty establishing that transmissions originate beyond the Earth’s atmosphere,” says Swinburne’s Dr Chris Flynn.

    Molonglo opens new window on the Universe

    In 2013 CAASTRO scientists and engineers realised that the Molonglo telescope’s unique architecture could place a minimum distance to the FRBs due to its enormous focal length. A massive re-engineering effort began, which is now opening a new window on the Universe.

    The Molonglo telescope has a huge collecting area (18,000 square metres) and a large field of view (eight square degrees on the sky), which makes it excellent for hunting for fast radio bursts.

    Ms Caleb’s project was to develop software to sift through the 1000 TB of data produced each day. Her work paid off with the three new FRB discoveries.

    “It is very exciting to see the University of Sydney’s Molonglo telescope making such important scientific discoveries by partnering with Swinburne’s expertise in supercomputing”, says Professor Anne Green of the University of Sydney.

    Thanks to further funding from the Australian Research Council the telescope will be improved even more to gain the ability to localise bursts to an individual galaxy.

    “Figuring out where the bursts come from is the key to understanding what makes them. Only one burst has been linked to a specific galaxy,” Ms Caleb says. “We expect Molonglo will do this for many more bursts.”

    A paper on the discovery ‘The first interferometric detections of Fast Radio Bursts’ has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. It is available online at https://arxiv.org/abs/1703.10173

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Swinburne U Campus

    Swinburne is a large and culturally diverse organisation. A desire to innovate and bring about positive change motivates our students and staff. The result is in an institution that grows and evolves each year.

  • richardmitnick 1:41 pm on February 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Fast Radio Bursts   

    From CfA: “Astronomers Propose a Cell Phone Search for Galactic Fast Radio Bursts” 

    Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

    Center For Astrophysics

    February 14, 2017
    Christine Pulliam
    Media Relations Manager
    Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics


    Fast radio bursts (FRBs) are brief spurts of radio emission, lasting just one-thousandth of a second, whose origins are mysterious. Fewer than two dozen have been identified in the past decade using giant radio telescopes such as the 1,000-foot dish in Arecibo, Puerto Rico.

    NAIC/Arecibo Observatory, Puerto Rico, USA
    NAIC/Arecibo Observatory, Puerto Rico, USA

    Of those, only one has been pinpointed to originate from a galaxy about 3 billion light-years away.

    The other known FRBs seem to also come from distant galaxies, but there is no obvious reason that, every once in a while, an FRB wouldn’t occur in our own Milky Way galaxy too. If it did, astronomers suggest that it would be “loud” enough that a global network of cell phones or small radio receivers could “hear” it.

    “The search for nearby fast radio bursts offers an opportunity for citizen scientists to help astronomers find and study one of the newest species in the galactic zoo,” says theorist Avi Loeb of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA).

    Previous FRBs were detected at radio frequencies that match those used by cell phones, Wi-Fi, and similar devices. Consumers could potentially download a free smartphone app that would run in the background, monitoring appropriate frequencies and sending the data to a central processing facility.

    “An FRB in the Milky Way, essentially in our own back yard, would wash over the entire planet at once. If thousands of cell phones picked up a radio blip at nearly the same time, that would be a good sign that we’ve found a real event,” explains lead author Dan Maoz of Tel Aviv University.

    Finding a Milky Way FRB might require some patience. Based on the few, more distant ones, that have been spotted so far, Maoz and Loeb estimate that a new one might pop off in the Milky Way once every 30 to 1,500 years. However, given that some FRBs are known to burst repeatedly, perhaps for decades or even centuries, there might be one alive in the Milky Way today. If so, success could become a yearly or even weekly event.

    A dedicated network of specialized detectors could be even more helpful in the search for a nearby FRB. For as little as $10 each, off-the-shelf devices that plug into the USB port of a laptop or desktop computer can be purchased. If thousands of such detectors were deployed around the world, especially in areas relatively free from Earthly radio interference, then finding a close FRB might just be a matter of time.

    This work has been accepted for publication in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society and is available online.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Stem Education Coalition

    The Center for Astrophysics combines the resources and research facilities of the Harvard College Observatory and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory under a single director to pursue studies of those basic physical processes that determine the nature and evolution of the universe. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) is a bureau of the Smithsonian Institution, founded in 1890. The Harvard College Observatory (HCO), founded in 1839, is a research institution of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University, and provides facilities and substantial other support for teaching activities of the Department of Astronomy.

  • richardmitnick 3:11 pm on January 4, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Fast Radio Bursts, , ,   

    From NRAO: “Precise Location, Distance Provide Breakthrough in Study of Fast Radio Bursts” 

    NRAO Icon
    National Radio Astronomy Observatory

    NRAO Banner

    4 January 2017

    Visible-light image of host galaxy.
    Credit: Gemini Observatory/AURA/NSF/NRC.

    For the first time, astronomers have pinpointed the location in the sky of a Fast Radio Burst (FRB), allowing them to determine the distance and home galaxy of one of these mysterious pulses of radio waves. The new information rules out several suggested explanations for the source of FRBs.

    “We now know that this particular burst comes from a dwarf galaxy more than three billion light-years from Earth,” said Shami Chatterjee, of Cornell University. “That simple fact is a huge advance in our understanding of these events,” he added. Chatterjee and other astronomers presented their findings to the American Astronomical Society’s meeting in Grapevine, Texas, in the scientific journal Nature, and in companion papers in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

    Fast Radio Bursts are highly-energetic, but very short-lived (millisecond) bursts of radio waves whose origins have remained a mystery since the first one was discovered in 2007. That year, researchers scouring archived data from Australia’s Parkes Radio Telescope in search of new pulsars found the first known FRB — one that had burst in 2001.

    There now are 18 known FRBs. All were discovered using single-dish radio telescopes that are unable to narrow down the object’s location with enough precision to allow other observatories to identify its host environment or to find it at other wavelengths. Unlike all the others, however, one FRB, discovered in November of 2012 at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, has recurred numerous times.

    NAIC/Arecibo Observatory, Puerto Rico, USA
    NAIC/Arecibo Observatory, Puerto Rico, USA

    The repeating bursts from this object, named FRB 121102 after the date of the initial burst, allowed astronomers to watch for it using the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), a multi-antenna radio telescope system with the resolving power, or ability to see fine detail, needed to precisely determine the object’s location in the sky.

    In 83 hours of observing time over six months in 2016, the VLA detected nine bursts from FRB 121102.

    “For a long time, we came up empty, then got a string of bursts that gave us exactly what we needed,” said Casey Law, of the University of California at Berkeley.

    “The VLA data allowed us to narrow down the position very accurately,” said Sarah Burke-Spolaor, of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) and West Virginia University.

    Using the precise VLA position, researchers used the Gemini North telescope in Hawaii to make a visible-light image that identified a faint dwarf galaxy at the location of the bursts. The Gemini observations also determined that the dwarf galaxy is more than 3 billion light-years from Earth.

    Gemini/North telescope at Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA
    Gemini/North telescope at Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA

    “Before we knew the distance to any FRBs, several proposed explanations for their origins said they could be coming from within or near our own Milky Way Galaxy. We now have ruled out those explanations, at least for this FRB,” said Shriharsh Tendulkar, of McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

    In addition to detecting the bright bursts from FRB 121102, the VLA observations also revealed an ongoing, persistent source of weaker radio emission in the same region.

    Next, a team of observers used the multiple radio telescopes of the European VLBI Network (EVN), along with the 1,000-foot-diameter William E. Gordon Telescope of the Arecibo Observatory, and the NSF’s Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) to determine the object’s position with even greater accuracy.

    European VLBI
    European VLBI


    “These ultra high precision observations showed that the bursts and the persistent source must be within 100 light-years of each other,” said Jason Hessels, of the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy and the University of Amsterdam.

    “We think that the bursts and the continuous source are likely to be either the same object or that they are somehow physically associated with each other,” said Benito Marcote, of the Joint Institute for VLBI ERIC, Dwingeloo, Netherlands.

    The top candidates, the astronomers suggested, are a neutron star, possibly a highly-magnetic magnetar, surrounded by either material ejected by a supernova explosion or material ejected by a resulting pulsar, or an active nucleus in the galaxy, with radio emission coming from jets of material emitted from the region surrounding a supermassive black hole.

    “We do have to keep in mind that this FRB is the only one known to repeat, so it may be physically different from the others,” cautioned Bryan Butler of NRAO.

    “Finding the host galaxy of this FRB, and its distance, is a big step forward, but we still have much more to do before we fully understand what these things are,” Chatterjee said.

    “This impressive result shows the power of several telescopes working in concert — first detecting the radio burst and then precisely locating and beginning to characterize the emitting source,” said Phil Puxley, a program director at the National Science Foundation that funds the VLA, VLBA, Gemini and Arecibo observatories. “It will be exciting to collect more data and better understand the nature of these radio bursts.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    The NRAO operates a complementary, state-of-the-art suite of radio telescope facilities for use by the scientific community, regardless of institutional or national affiliation: the Very Large Array (VLA), the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT), and the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA)*.

    ALMA Array


    GBO radio telescope, Green Bank, West Virginia, USA
    GBO Radio Observatory telescope, Green Bank, West Virginia, USA, formerly supported by NSF, but now on its own


    The NRAO is building two new major research facilities in partnership with the international community that will soon open new scientific frontiers: the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), and the Expanded Very Large Array (EVLA). Access to ALMA observing time by the North American astronomical community will be through the North American ALMA Science Center (NAASC).
    *The Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) comprises ten radio telescopes spanning 5,351 miles. It’s the world’s largest, sharpest, dedicated telescope array. With an eye this sharp, you could be in Los Angeles and clearly read a street sign in New York City!

    Astronomers use the continent-sized VLBA to zoom in on objects that shine brightly in radio waves, long-wavelength light that’s well below infrared on the spectrum. They observe blazars, quasars, black holes, and stars in every stage of the stellar life cycle. They plot pulsars, exoplanets, and masers, and track asteroids and planets.

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