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‘Heartbeat’ detected billions of light-years away

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Jillian Castillo
Jillian Castillo
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SSR waves are short, very energetic, but also very brief pulses (usually only a few milliseconds) of radio waves that emit as much energy in a millisecond as the Sun does in 10,000 years.

The explosion was detected on December 21, 2019 Using the CHIME telescope He soon caught the attention of Danielle Micheli, who noticed something unusual in the collected data.

The scientist and his colleagues found that the new signal, called FRB 20191221A, lasts for up to three seconds, about 1,000 times longer than the average burst detected so far.

Not only was it long, but there were periodic peaks that were remarkably accurate, emitting every millisecond—boom, boom, boom—like a heartbeat.explains Danielle Micheli in a press release published by McGill University.

It is currently the longest-running FRB, with the clearest periodic pattern detected to date. […] This is the first time that the signal itself is periodic. »

Quote from Danielle Micheli, researcher at McGill University

The team now hopes to discover more periodic signals from this source, which can then be used as an astrophysical clock.

The frequency of the bursts and how they change as the source moves away from Earth can be used to measure how fast the universe is expanding. »

Quote from Danielle Micheli

Sources of strict periodic signals are very rare in the universe.

Examples we know of in our galaxy are radio and magnetic pulsars, which rotate and emit a beacon-like beam. And we think this new signal could be a magnetar or a pulsar on doping.Says Aaron Perlman of the McGill Space Institute, who also co-wrote the article.

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The first SRR was observed in 2007, and Its source, a distant dwarf galaxy, was identified in 2017.

Details of the work are published in the magazine temper nature (A new window) (in English).

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