Space: Astronomers detected a mysterious “heartbeat” millions of light years from Earth


It sounds like a “beat”, as if it were a living heart, but millions of light years from Earth. A group of astronomers was surprised by the finding, published this month in Nature.

The discovery, made by specialists from McGill University, MIT and other institutions, it bears the signal name FRB 20191221A. It is the longest and with the clearest periodic pattern detected to date.

An FRB is a fast radio burst, a persistent signal located in outer space. The characteristics of this is that it persists up to three seconds, about a thousand times more than the average FRB.

According to the statement signed by McGill University, the team of researchers, using the CHIME telescope, found bursts of radio waves that repeat every 0.2 seconds in a clear periodic pattern.

Daniele Michilli, from the Department of Physics at McGill University, led the study, based on signals captured since 2019.

“Not only was it very long, about three seconds, but there were periodic spikes that were remarkably accurate, emitting every fraction of a second, boom, boom, boom, like a heartbeat.” Michilli says.

“This is the first time that the signal itself is periodic.”

What is the origin of this “heartbeat” in space? Astronomers explain

Working with Michilli was Aaron Pearlman, a FRQNT Postdoctoral Fellow at the McGill Space Institute.

“There aren’t many things in the universe that emit strictly periodic signals,” Pearlman notes in the statement. “Examples that we know of in our own galaxy are radio pulsars and magnetars, that rotate and produce an emission of rays similar to a lighthouse”.

But, what can cause the signal captured by the researchers? According to Pearlman, it’s a magnetar or “pulsar on steroids.”

A magnetar, also known as a magnetostar, it is a type of neutron star powered by an extremely strong magnetic field, thousands of times stronger than that of a normal neutron star. That’s why it’s called a “pulsar on steroids.”

Its most outstanding characteristic is that it expels, in a short period, a huge amount of high energy in the form of X-rays and gamma rays.

“The CHIME telescope has now detected many FRBs with different properties,” says Michilli. “We have seen some that live inside clouds that are very turbulent, while others appear to be in clean environments. From the properties of this new signal, we can tell that around this source there is a cloud of plasma that must be extremely turbulent.”

Leave A Reply
adobe behance bottom very top made journey opposite directionThe founders never wildest dreams imagined standing