China's largest telescope detects more than 100 & # 39; mysterious & # 39; radio signals that are thought to come from three billion light years away
- These signals are so-called fast radio bursts of which the origin is unknown until now
- Each burst takes only milliseconds and must come from a high-energy source
- The FAST telescope of China has studied a well-known and active source of bursts
- More information about the nature of these pulses can reveal how they are made
China's largest telescope has detected more than 100 mysterious radio pulses coming from a source about three billion light years from Earth.
The strange signals are so-called fast radio pulses – fast pulses of energy that come from unknown but energy-rich sources in space.
Researchers from the space observatory will continue to follow the signals, hoping that further analysis will indicate how these radio pulses are generated.
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The largest telescope in China, pictured, has detected more than 100 mysterious radio pulses from a source, about three billion light years from Earth
The inexplicable signals were detected by the five hundred meter long spherical radio telescope of China – also known as FAST – and are currently being monitored and analyzed, researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences report.
The telescope studied a fast radio burst source known as FRB121102, which was first seen in the air by the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, in 2015.
Astronomers at FAST have detected more than 100 bursts from FRB121102 since the end of August – the largest number of pulses ever detected.
Rapid radio pulses are small pulses of radio waves that last less than a few milliseconds and are the brightest known radio phenomena.
The bursts are believed to be generated by a currently unidentified but energy-rich process in space.
The first rapid radio shot was identified in 2007 based on data collected by the Parkes radio fleet in New South Wales, Australia in 2001.
Astronomers hope that studying the repeated bursts detected by FAST can help determine precisely where fast radio bursts are coming and how they are generated.
The mysterious signals were detected by the five hundred meter long spherical radio telescope of China – also known as FAST, which is located in a natural depression in the landscape of Guizhou province in southwest China, near Jinke Village
Located in a natural depression in the landscape of Guizhou Province in southwestern China, near Jinke Village, the FAST observatory was completed in September 2016 and will begin routine operations this month.
It is the largest and most sensitive radio observatory ever built.
The considerable observation power of the telescope will be used by astronomers from different countries to study phenomena such as exoplanets, gravitational waves and cosmic rays with ultra-high energy.
The addition of a highly sensitive secondary system to the gigantic telescope, however, has enabled it to detect fast radio pulses with high efficiency and in real-time and simultaneously perform observation tasks.
It is expected that FAST will enable researchers to determine the origin of these mysterious pulses with considerably greater accuracy.
Researchers from FAST will continue to follow the burst of FRB121102 to collect as much information as possible about the source of these pulses.
WHAT ARE FAST RADIO BURSTS AND WHY STUDY THEM?
Fast radio bursts, or FRBs, are radio broadcasts that appear temporarily and randomly, making them not only difficult to find, but also difficult to study.
The mystery stems from the fact that it is not known what such a short and sharp burst could cause.
This has led some to speculate that this can be anything from stars that clash to artificially created messages.
Scientists looking for fast radio bursts (FRB & # 39; s) that some think may be signals from aliens can happen every second. The blue dots in this artist's impression of the filament structure of galaxies are signals from FRB & # 39; s
The first FRB was spotted in 2001, or rather & # 39; heard & # 39; by radio telescopes, but was only discovered in 2007 when scientists analyzed archival data.
But it was so temporary and seemingly random that it took years for astronomers to agree that it was not a glitch in any of the telescope's instruments.
Researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics point out that FRBs can be used to study the structure and evolution of the universe, regardless of whether their origins are fully understood.
A large population of distant FRBs could act as probes of material over huge distances.
This intermediate material blurs the signal from the cosmic microwave background (CMB), the remaining radiation from the Big Bang.
A careful study of this intervening material should provide a better understanding of fundamental cosmic components, such as the relative amounts of ordinary matter, dark matter, and dark energy that affect how rapidly the universe expands.
FRB & # 39; s can also be used to find out what the & # 39; is missing & # 39; has broken down from hydrogen atoms that the early universe has penetrated into free electrons and protons, as the temperatures after the big bang cooled down.
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