Like gravitational waves (GWs) and gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), fast radio bursts (FRBs) are one of the most powerful and mysterious astronomical phenomena to date. These short-term events consist of flares that release more energy in a millisecond than the Sun does in three days, reports universetoday.com.
While most flares last only a few milliseconds, there have been rare instances where fast radio bursts have been repetitive. Although astronomers don’t know what causes them.
The study used the Canadian Next Generation Radio Telescope (CHIME) located at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory (DRAO) in British Columbia.
With its large field of view and wide frequency range, this telescope is an indispensable tool for detecting FRBs (over 1,000 sources have been discovered to date!).
Using a new type of algorithm, the CHIME/FRB collaboration allowed astronomers to discover evidence of 25 new repeating radio bursts in the CHIME data recorded between 2019 and 2021.
Despite their mysterious nature, FRBs are ubiquitous, and scientists estimate that events reach Earth about a thousand times a day across the sky. None of the theories or models proposed to date can fully explain all the properties of flares or sources.
Some astronomers believe they are caused by neutron stars and black holes. Other scientists offer other explanations, ranging from pulsars and magnetars to gamma-ray bursts.
While the source of FRBs remains unknown, it is possible that they are generated by extragalactic objects. While there is no clear evidence of extraterrestrial communications, some experts believe that FRBs could be a form of communication from an extraterrestrial civilization.
CHIME was originally created to measure the expansion history of the universe through the detection of neutral hydrogen. About 370,000 years after the Big Bang, the Universe was permeated with this gas, and the only photons were either the CMB radiation (cosmic microwave background) or radiation emitted by neutral hydrogen atoms.
For this reason, astronomers and cosmologists refer to this period as the “Dark Ages,” which ended about 1 billion years after the Big Bang, when the first stars and galaxies began to reionize neutral hydrogen.