Fast radio bursts from space are a mysterious phenomenon. They are known as FRB (Fast Radio Burst). They are the most elusive and powerful signals ever detected in space. They last only a few milliseconds. And in that short time they can generate the same amount of energy as 500 million suns. The strange cosmic object that explodes endlessly is one of them.
It is not known what could produce radio waves of such extraordinary intensity. Their bursts and tremendous ‘shots’ of energy occur continuously. Scientists captured 1,652 bursts of energy in 60 hours. This is unprecedented. Their findings have been published a few days ago in ‘Nature’.
The mysterious object FRB 121102 was named. And it’s in a dwarf galaxy 3 billion light years away. Most FRBs only emit energy once. But recently several have been detected that are capable of doing so repeatedly. This is the case with FRB 121102.
They used the 500-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST). It is one of the most sensitive in existence and is in China.
The strange cosmic object that explodes endlessly exceeded expectations. The observation campaign was 60 hours long. It was rather routine. But to the astonishment of the team, the FRB exploded 1,652 times. It reached a frenetic rate of up to 117 explosions per hour. That’s a record.
The magnetic field
The vast majority of FRBs occur at enormous distances, making them difficult to study. But just over a year ago, one was detected in our own galaxy. The source was found to be a magnetar, a rare type of neutron star. It has a very powerful magnetic field. It’s not known how a magnetar can give rise to an FRB.
There is no known mechanism capable of explaining so many explosions so powerful and so close together. The magnetar detected in 2020 in our galaxy is not even close to something like that. Researchers acknowledge that it is an (as yet) unsolvable mystery.