Proof of LIFE: Scientists record mysterious radio signals from deep space

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Scientists have detected 60 single fast radio bursts and two that repeat so far, yet they believe there could be as many as a thousand FRBs passing in the sky every day. "This is done using clever algorithms and a couple of giant computer clusters that sit beside the telescope and crunch away at the data in real time". He also led the construction of a prototype telescope, MITEoR, that tested algorithms and calibration techniques.

The telescope was launched past year, detecting 13 of the radio bursts nearly immediately, including the repeater that was detected today.

A new radio telescope in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley has detected 13 new sources of mysterious extragalactic phenomena known as fast radio bursts, including the second known source of repeated bursts.

Tom Landecker, a CHIME team member from the National Research Council, said the findings provide rich information about the sources and environments that generate fast radio bursts. "Knowing that there is another suggests that there could be more out there", said Ingrid Stairs, a member of the CHIME team. Seeing two repeating signals probably means that there exists - and that humanity will probably find - a "substantial population" of repeating signals, the researchers write in one of the two papers published in Nature. Before CHIME, astronomers noted that most of the previously detected bursts had frequencies around 1,400 MHz, and some wondered whether CHIME would detect any bursts at all in its range of 400 to 800 MHz.

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Including the repeater, CHIME picked up a total of 13 new FRBs over the course of two months. Observations of fast radio bursts at frequencies down to 400 megahertz.

More likely, CHIME's Shiryash Tendulkar says, is the possibility that they come from a "very strongly magnetized, rapidly spinning neutron star called a millisecond magnetar".

The FRBs show various temporal scattering behaviours, with the majority significantly scattered, and some apparently unscattered to within measurement uncertainty even at our lowest frequencies.

"At the end of the year, we may have found 1,000 bursts", said Deborah Good, a PhD student at the University of British Columbia and one of 50 scientists from five institutions involved in the research.

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She adds that studying these bursts "can help us probe the distribution of electrons (hence of matter in general) and magnetic fields in the Universe in ways independent of other methods that we have developed".

The University went on to say that FRBs are hard to research but could be linked to powerful astrophysical objects such as supernova remnants.

"That could mean in some sort of dense clump like a supernova remnant", Cherry Ng, an astronomer at the University of Toronto, told the news outlet.

The CHIME researchers are working with an array of antennas in central New Mexico to pin down the galaxy to which the second repeater belongs. The telescope is located at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory near Penticton, B.C.

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This article is adapated from a press release issued by McGill University.

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