We tracked 5 mysterious fast radio bursts of distant spiral galaxies


Head Fast radio bursts (FRB) continues to dazzle astronomers. Nobody really knows what’s behind these ultra-intense and ultra-short radio waves from deep space, but astronomers have now traced five FRBs back to their original galaxies.

It is the Hubble Space Telescope Who came with the goods again. The telescope’s ultraviolet and infrared cameras were used to find out where these five bursts appeared on the star map, which gave us a better understanding of how they occurred in the first place.

Previously, only about fifteen of the few thousand FRBs discovered so far were tracked in specific galaxies, so a follow-up on this group of bursts is an important indication of the functioning of this phenomenon.

“Our results are new and exciting,” Says astronomer Alexandra ManningsUniversity of California, Santa Cruz. “This is the first high-resolution display of a group of FRBs, and Hubble reveals that five of them lie near or on the spiral arms of a galaxy. Most galaxies are massive stars, which are relatively small and still in training. ”

“The images allow us to get a better idea of ​​the general characteristics of the host galaxy, such as its mass and rate of star formation, as well as to explore what is happening directly in FRB Position because Hubble has such a high resolution. “

FRBs generate as much energy in a thousandth of a second as the Sun does in a year, and the more we discover about it, the more interesting it becomes. It cannot be communications from an alien life … can they? (Probably not, sorry.)

Part of the difficulty with studying these eruptions is that they only last a few milliseconds and recur very rarely. Scientists are also not sure where to look for the next thing, which makes it very difficult to find their origins and causes.

These five elements have been proven to originate from the dark parts of the spiraling arms around galaxies speak volumes for experts. Spiral arms are where the hottest and younger stars of the galaxy are located, but these FRBs do not originate from the brightest parts of the arms.

Four FRB sites. (NASA, European Space Agency, Alexandra Mannings, Wayne Fei Fung; Image Processing: Alyssa Pagan)

Since we know which types of stars are present and not in the regions of the spiral arm, the results support the hypothesis that FRBs may originate from ferromagnetic stars – dense stars with incredibly strong magnetic fields, which tend to be found at the FRB sites observed by Hubble.

“Because of the strong magnetic fields, the magnets are completely unpredictable,” Says astronomer Win Fei Fung From Northwestern University. “In this case, the FRBs are thought to have come from the flares of a young magnetic star.”

“Massive stars undergo stellar evolution and become neutron stars, some of which can be strongly magnetized, resulting in flares and magnetic processes on their surface, which can emit radio light. This image excludes the very young or very old strains of FRB. ”

This Hubble-based investigative work also goes further than previous research by attaching FRBs to galaxies that have specific basic structures – in this case, spiral arms. This is a connection that has not been clearly identified before.

Slowly but surely, experts are beginning to gather powerful information about these elusive pulses of energy dragging through space. After initially identifying these events in 2007, astronomers last year found evidence of the first FRB in our galaxy.

The question of what exactly FRBs are and where they came from remains unanswered, but studies like this one from a new NASA agency are starting to rule out some possibilities as others rule, and the more detailed images of space we can get, the better.

“We do not know the causes of FRBs, so it is very important to use context when we have it,” Fong said. “This technique has successfully recognized the ancestors of other types of transients, such as supernovae and gamma-ray bursts. Hubble also played a big role in these studies. ”

The research has not yet been published, but it will appear in The Astrophysical Journal. It is now available for preprinting on arXiv.org.


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