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Astronomers detect Strongest-ever Fast Radio Burst Signals

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Astronomers have detected the strongest-ever fast radio burst (FRB) signals with the highest signal-to-noise ratio ever recorded. The FRB signals were detected by the Parkes Observatory radio telescope in remote Australia on March 1, 9 and 11. The FRB received on March 9, FRB 180309, has been termed as four times stronger signal compared to normal FRBs detected by astronomers. FRB source still remains a mystery for astronomers. The signals last for few milliseconds and arrive without any warning.

The radio bursts received this month have been termed as FRB 180301, FRB 180309 and FRB 180311 in accordance with the convention of naming the bursts after the date on which they occurred. Till date, 33 FRBs have been recorded by astronomers. While majority of them have been one-off events, FRB 121102 signal has been recorded as repeat signal.

“The burst on 9 March was by far the brightest one we’ve seen,” said Professor Maura McLaughlin, from West Virginia University. Astronomers aren’t sure about the source of these radio bursts. Some of them associate them with black holes, pulsars with companion stars, imploding pulsars, a type of star called a blitzar, a connection with gamma-ray bursts while others attribute them to neutron stars or magnetars emitting giant flares.

A report published by Astronomer Telegram has given technical aspects of FRB received earlier this month, “The INTEGRAL observatory was taking data on a field centered at RA=87.04, Dec=19.32, 130 degrees from the approximate FRB arrival direction (RA=321.2 Dec=-33.8). This orientation is not very favorable for a detection of any gamma-ray transient with INTEGRAL all-sky detectors. The best constraints can be achieved using the anti-coincidence shields of the spectrometer (SPI-ACS) or the imager (IBIS/Veto). We inspected these data, which have a stable background within the hour around the FRB occurrence time, and derive an upper limit on any associated impulsive gamma-ray transient.”

As per New Scientist, “FRBs are some of the most difficult to spot phenomena in the universe. They are powerful blasts of radio waves that flash from distant space for milliseconds and then disappear.”

A report published by Science Alert magazine informed, “The Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder, which detected three fast radio bursts last year after it was switched on for the first time, is the pathfinder for the powerful Square Kilometre Array, being built across Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.”

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