Astronomers have traced the origin of a mysterious and powerful radio signal to three distant galaxies | News from Mexico

WASHINGTON, USA.- Astronomers have traced one of the most powerful and distant fast radio bursts ever detected to its unusual cosmic origin: a peculiar collection of blob-shaped galaxies.

This The unexpected discovery could provide more information about the causes of the mysterious bursts of radio waves. that have baffled scientists for years.

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According to CNN, The powerful signal, known as FRB 20220610A, was first detected on June 10, 2022. and traveled 8 billion light years to reach Earth. A light year represents the distance light travels in one year, which is equivalent to 9.46 billion kilometers (5.88 billion miles).

Fast radio bursts (FRBs)) are short, intense bursts of radio waves lasting milliseconds and of still unknown origin. The first FRB was discovered in 2007, and since then hundreds of these fleeting cosmic flares have been observed from distant points in the Universe.

The signal lasted less than a millisecond

This particular fast radio burst lasted less than a millisecond but was four times more energetic than previously detected FRBs.. The explosion released an amount of energy equivalent to 30 years’ worth of emissions from our sun, according to initial research published in October.

Many FRBs emit ultra-bright radio waves that last no more than a few milliseconds before disappearing, making them difficult to observe.

Radio telescopes have proven useful in tracking the trajectories of fast cosmic flares.So the researchers used the Australian ASKAP radio telescope in Western Australia and the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in Chile to determine where the mysterious burst occurred.

OObservations led scientists to a giant spot in the sky, It was initially thought to be a single irregular galaxy or a group of three interacting galaxies.

Now Astronomers used images from the Hubble Space Telescope to show that the fast radio burst originated from a group of at least seven galaxies so close together that they could all fit inside the Milky Way.

The results were presented on Tuesday at the 243rd meeting American Astronomical Society in New Orleans.

An unusual group of galaxies

The galaxies in the group appear to be interacting and may even be in the process of merging.According to the researchers, this could have caused a rapid radio burst.

“Without Hubble images, it would remain a mystery whether this FRB originated in a monolithic galaxy or in some type of interacting system,” he said in a statement. Alexa Gordon, lead author of the study and a doctoral student in astronomy in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University.

“It is this strange environment that pushes us to better understand the mystery of the FRB.”

The galactic group, known as a compact group, is exceptional and an example of “the densest galactic-scale structures that we know,” said study co-author. Wen-Fai Fong, assistant professor of physics and astronomy at Northwestern University and Gordon’s doctoral supervisor.

Interaction between galaxies may cause bursts of star formationwhich may have been related to the explosion, Gordon said.

Fast radio bursts were recorded mainly in isolated galaxiesbut astronomers have also found them in globular clusters and now in compact groups, Gordon explains.

“We need to continue to find more of these types of FRBs, both near and far, and in all of these types of environments,” he said.

They investigate the origin of fast radio bursts

were discovered almost a thousand fast radio bursts since its initial discovery about two decades agobut astronomers are still unclear what causes them.

However, many agree that they are probably associated with compact objects such as black holes or neutron stars, dense remnants of exploding stars. Magnetars, or highly magnetized stars, may be responsible for fast radio bursts, according to recent research.

Understanding the origins of fast radio bursts can help astronomers better determine the underlying cause that launches them across the Universe.

“Despite hundreds of FRB events detected to date, only a fraction of them have been identified with host galaxies,” study co-author Yuxin Vic Dong said in a statement. “In this small group, only a few came from the dense galactic environment, but none had ever been seen in such a compact group. Therefore, his birthplace is truly rare.” Dong is a National Science Foundation graduate research fellow and an astronomy graduate student in Fong’s lab at Northwestern University.

A Better knowledge of fast radio bursts could also lead to discoveries about the nature of the universe. As bursts travel through space over billions of years, they interact with cosmic material.

“Radio waves in particular are sensitive to any material in the line-of-sight path from the FRB location to us,” Dong said. “This means the waves must travel through any cloud of material around the FRB site, through its host galaxy, through the Universe, and finally through the Milky Way. From the delay of the FRB signal itself, we can measure the sum of all these contributions.

Astronomers see more sensitive methods for detecting fast radio bursts in the future, which could lead to the detection of more of them at greater distances.– Gordon noted.

“Ultimately we are trying to answer the questions: What causes them? Who are their parents and what is their origin? “Hubble’s observations provide fascinating insight into the surprising types of environments that give rise to these mysterious events,” Fong said.

Source: X @CNNEE

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