US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — The Milky Way magnetar, denoted as SGR 1935 + 2154, may have just made a huge contribution to uncovering the secrets of powerful radio signals in deep space that have haunted astronomers for many years.
On April 28, radio observatories around the world recorded a star just 30,000 light-years from Earth, which flashed in a single burst of incredibly bright radio waves lasting 0.1 seconds. In addition, global and space X-ray observatories have recorded a very bright X-ray analogue of the burst.
Currently, astronomers around the world are trying to analyze the data, but it seems that many agree that magnetars are the source of fast radio bursts (FRB).
FRB is one of the most fascinating mysteries of space. These are extremely powerful radio signals from deep space, galaxies located at a distance of millions of light years from Earth. Some of them emit more energy than 500 million suns. But at the same time, they last a split second, and most of them are not repeated, which makes them very difficult to predict, track and, therefore, understand.
FRBs were first discovered in 2007, and among the hypotheses about their origin was a version about the alien nature of the signals. But perhaps now the source of their origin will finally be declared by the magnetars.
Transient phase space plot now with the SGR 1935+2154 lower limit from STARE2. I think the interpretation writes itself. pic.twitter.com/8ScrlcyqLW
— An Dr. Evan Ó Catháin🅾️ (@evanocathain) April 29, 2020
Magnetars are an especially strange type of neutron stars, which are only 20-30 km in diameter, but have a mass that in most cases exceeds solar. Their magnetic field is about a thousand times more powerful than that of ordinary neutron stars.
On April 27, 2020, SGR 1935 + 2154 was detected and observed by several instruments that recorded a burst of activity, including the Swift Burst Alert telescope, the AGILE satellite, and NICER ISS. Initially, he looked relatively normal, in accordance with the behavior observed in other magnetars.
But then, on April 28, the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) – a telescope designed to scan the sky for transient phenomena – made unprecedented detection, a signal so powerful that the system could not quantify it.
“If the same signal came from a nearby galaxy, typical for the manifestation of FRB, then for us it would look like FRB. Nothing of the kind has happened before.” – Srinivas Kulkarni from the University of California.
Of course, even if SGR 1935 + 2154 really confirms the magnetic origin for fast radio bursts, this will not mean that this is their only explanation. Some signals behave differently and repeat unpredictably. So recently it was discovered that one source produces FRB in a 16-day cycle.
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