Astronomers spot rare fast radio burst in our own Galaxy

Baffling Radio Signal Coming From Inside Our Galaxy Announce Scientists

The ones that come from outside our galaxy are "tens of thousands to millions of times more powerful than anything we have detected in our galaxy", said co-author Daniele Michilli, an astrophysicist at McGill and part of the Canadian team.

The first FRB was discovered by chance in 2007 when two scientists trawled archival data from a pulsar survey. "But with more events, we would be able to tell exactly how lucky we... were".

Scientists have determined mysterious radio signal bursts that have been detected in space have been observed within the Milky Way for the first time, the Independent reports.

As their description suggests, magnetars are powered by intense magnetic fields that are one thousand trillion times stronger than Earth's magnetic field and are so intense that it heats the surface to almost 10 million degrees celsius.

The radio pulses - the closest ones observed to Earth - have been tracked to a magnetar, known as SGR 1935+2154. After analyzing the data from the FRB, astronomers at both CHIME and STARE2 confirmed that the radio waves had coincided with a particularly large burst of X-rays from the magnetar.

Most theories proposed that some kind of stellar remnant such as a neutron star, dense remnants of giant stars that have gone supernova, were the source of FRBs.

"The luminosity is still lower than that of fast radio bursts (coming from outside our Milky Way), but it demonstrates that magnetars can release a huge amount of radio energy with properties like those of FRBs, implying that at least [some] FRBs are probably coming from magnetars".

Magnetars are a form of neutron star - strange, compact objects in which matter has been compressed into a very small volume.

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The announcement was significant because until now, there has been no observational evidence directly linking FRBs with magnetars.

Astronomers have had as many 50 different theories for what causes these fast radio bursts, including aliens, and they emphasize that magnetars may not be the only answer, especially since there seem to be two types of fast radio bursts.

In their study, the researchers described a radio burst that was 3,000 times stronger than of any magnetar measured so far.

Artist's impression of a magnetar, showing complex magnetic field structure and beamed emission, imagined as following a crust cracking episode.

Meanwhile, astronomers are hoping to see more FRBs like FRB 200428 in our own galaxy. You know what they say: be careful what you wish for!

The new FRBs were first detected on April 27, when researchers operating two space telescopes picked up several gamma-ray and X-ray emissions stemming from a magnetar on the other side of the galaxy.

Amanda Wiltman and also Anthony Walters, of the High Energy Physics Theory Group, Cosmology and Astrophysics at the University of Cape Town, said the FRB's association with the magnetic star "is likely to solve a major mystery" in the universe.

Bochenek figured he had maybe a 1-in-10 chance of spotting a fast radio burst in a few years. That could give us a better understanding if this one event was an offshoot - or the final piece of the FRB puzzle.

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