An international team of researchers including scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn could rule out any terrestrial origin for the four discovered fast radio bursts. Their brightness and distance estimates indicate that the bursts originated at cosmological distances, when the Universe was just 6 to 9 billion years old. The emission process for these bursts is not known yet.
The CSIRO Parkes radio telescope, which has been used to confirm a population of Fast Radio Bursts, is shown superimposed on an image the distribution of gas in our Galaxy. An artist's impression of a single fast radio burst is shown located well away from the Galactic plane emission. Fast radio bursts are a new population of radio source located at cosmological distances.
Swinburne Astronomy Productions, with CSIRO Parkes radio telescope and astronomy.fas.harvard.edu/skymaps/halpha (background image).
Radio map of the whole sky in Galactic coordinates, with pulsars found within the High Time Resolution Universe Survey (HTRU) project marked as black dots. The positions of the newly detected four Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) are marked as red asterisks. MPIfR/C. Ng
The results are published in the current issue of “Science” (Science Online, July 05, 2013).
Four Fast Radio Bursts or FRBs with durations of only a few milliseconds were detected at high Galactic latitudes in the southern sky.
The extremely short duration of the bursts and the inferred great distance imply that they have been caused by some cataclysmic cosmological event, such as two merging neutron stars or a star dying or being swallowed by a black hole.
The results point to some of the most extreme events in astrophysics involving large amounts of mass or energy as the source of the radio bursts. “A single burst of radio emission of unknown origin was detected outside our galaxy about six years ago but no one was certain what it was or even if it was real, so we have spent the last four years searching for more of these explosive, short-duration radio bursts”, says Dan Thornton, the University of Manchester and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation PhD student who led the study. “This paper describes four more bursts, removing any doubt that they are real. And the furthest one we detected after a light travelling time of about 8 billion years.”
Astonishingly the findings, which were taken from a tiny fraction of the sky, also suggest that there should be one of these signals going off every 10 seconds anywhere in the sky. “The bursts last only a tenth of the blink of an eye. With current telescopes we need to be lucky to look at the right spot at the right time,” explains Michael Kramer, Director at Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR) in Bonn and Professor at Manchester University. “But if we could view the sky systematically with “radio eyes” there would be flashes going off all over the sky every day.”
The researchers say their results will also provide a way of finding out the properties of space where the bursts occurred.
“We are still not sure about what makes up the space between galaxies”, says Dr Ben Stappers from Manchester’s School of Physics and Astronomy. “So we will be able to use these radio bursts like probes in order to understand more about some of the missing matter in the Universe.”
“Now we are starting to use other telescopes like our large Effelsberg 100m radio telescope to extend this research to the whole sky”, adds Dr David Champion from MPIfR. “We would like to look for the bursts in real time. Future telescopes like the Square Kilometre Array could cover even larger areas of the sky in order to detect many more of these bursts”, he concludes.
The research team includes scientists from the University of Manchester’s Jodrell Bank Observatory/United Kingdom, the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, Bonn/Germany, the Cagliari University and Observatory, Sardinia/Italy, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Sydney/Australia, the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for All-Sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO), and the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California/U.S.A.
Results are published as “A population of fast radio bursts at cosmological distances” (D. Thornton, B. Stappers, M. Bailes, B. Barsdell, S. Bates, N. D. R. Bhat, M. Burgay, S. Burke-Spolaor, D. Champion, P. Coster, N. D'Amico, A. Jameson, S. Johnston, M. Keith, M. Kramer, L. Levin, S. Milia, C. Ng, A. Possenti, & W. van Straten), in the current issue of “Science” Vol. 340, Issue 6141 (July 05, 2013)
Local Contact:Prof. Dr. Michael Kramer,
Norbert Junkes | Max-Planck-Institut
Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form
18.08.2017 | Cornell University
Astrophysicists explain the mysterious behavior of cosmic rays
18.08.2017 | Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
18.08.2017 | Life Sciences
18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences