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A Second Discovery of Repeating Fast Radio Signals (from space!)

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A Second Discovery of Repeating Fast Radio Signals (from space!) Keith Vanderlinde/Dunlap institute

We’re living in the future, for sure. In a galaxy, far, far away something is send radio waves our direction. But before you get excited at visitors from benevolent galaxies or terrified of green tentacled alien horrors, that “something,” is probably "nothing." 

Well, not “nothing” as in “absolutely nothing.” Just, probably not aliens. The most likely theory being tossed around is that the noise is coming from, “astrological phenomenon.”

Which, thanks by the way Scientist Folks-because that tells us absolutely nothing! I mean, right? Because “astrological phenomenon” could be, literally-anything happening out in space! (But, probably it means something like a black hole).  

Anyway, this is not the first time radio waves have been discovered heading our way. In the way back time of 2007 (before there was even an iPad!) an astrophysicist in Australia discovered fast radio burst when collecting 2001 data at the Parks Observatory. Movie pun not intended. That’s actually when it happened.   

Of course, astronomers of the day were quite skeptical and most thought it was just "interference" but he published his findings and has since been proven accurate. And now we have multiple “fast radio bursts” on record but the 2007 case, and now a brand new one uncovered a few days-have something unique in common - a repeating signal.

Now, to my understanding (which, is limited to some very recent Googling, lots of wiki reading and some science journal perusing) the 2007 burst had a “single repeating fast radio burst.” The Jan. 9th, 2019 discoverer has six repeat bursts. Which as far as I understand it, is extremely unusual to find that many repeating bursts to occur naturally; and while it certainly does not prove the existence of our beloved masters and eventual overlords … errr, I mean, aliens … it is still cool.

From the Jan. 9th, 2019 study reported in Journal:  

The discovery of a repeating fast radio burst (FRB) source. 1,2, FRB 121102, eliminated models involving cataclysmic events for this source. No other repeating FRB has hitherto been detected despite many recent discoveries and follow-ups. 3–5, suggesting that repeaters may be rare in the FRB population. Here we report the detection of six repeat bursts from FRB 180814.J0422+73, one of the 13 FRBs detected. 6 by the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) FRB project7 during its pre-commissioning phase in July and August 2018. These repeat bursts are consistent with originating from a single position on the sky, with the same dispersion measure, about 189 pc cm−3. This traces approximately twice the expected Milky Way column density, and implies an upper limit on the source redshift of 0.1, at least a factor of about 2 closer than FRB 1211028. In some of the repeat bursts, we observe sub-pulse frequency structure, drifting, and spectral variation reminiscent of that seen in FRB 1211029,10, suggesting similar emission mechanisms and/or propagation effects. This second repeater, found among the first few CHIME/FRB discoveries, suggests that there exists—and that CHIME/FRB and other wide-field, sensitive radio telescopes will find—a substantial population of repeating FRBs.”

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