Radio bursts caused by Milky Way magnetization


On April 28 of this year, the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) radio telescope captured a signal so strong that, at the time, the system was not even able to quantify it. The first Fast Radio Burst (FRB, or rapid radio explosion) detected in the Milky Way came, it has now been confirmed, from the magnetar SGR 1935 + 2154, within our galaxy.

In fact, two bursts were recorded – the second, accompanied by more intense than average X-ray emissions.

“We were able to determine that the scattered energy compared to that of extragalactic FRBs. In a millisecond, this magnetar emitted as much energy in radio waves as the Sun in 30 seconds,” explained astronomer Christopher Bochenek of the Stare2 radio telescope.

(A magnetar is the rotating nucleus of a large dead star with a powerful magnetic field. According to Bochenek, “the magnetars are so dense that a teaspoon of one would have the weight of a thousand pyramids of Giza.”)

In early October, CHIME again captured, from the SGR 1935 + 2154, three millisecond radio bursts, at three-second intervals. Astronomers from the Chinese radio telescope FAST, who started to monitor the phenomenon, found a pulsed radio emission consistent with the period of rotation of the magnetar.

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