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A Fast Radio Burst Tracked Down to a Nearby Galaxy

10 Jan 2020, 13:37 UTC
A Fast Radio Burst Tracked Down to a Nearby Galaxy
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Astronomers in Europe, working with members of Canada's CHIME Fast Radio Burst collaboration, have pinpointed the location of a repeating fast radio burst (FRB) first detected by the CHIME telescope in British Columbia in 2018. The breakthrough is only the second time that scientists have determined the precise location of a repeating source of these millisecond bursts of radio waves from space.In results published in the January 9 edition of Nature, the European VLBI Network (EVN) used eight telescopes spanning locations from the United Kingdom to China to simultaneously observe the repeating radio source known as FRB 180916.J0158+65. Using a technique known as Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI), the researchers achieved a level of resolution high enough to localize the FRB to a region approximately seven light years across - a feat comparable to an individual on Earth being able to distinguish a person on the Moon.With that level of precision, the research team was able to train an optical telescope onto the location to learn more about the environment from which the burst emanated. What they found has added a new chapter to the mystery surrounding the origins of FRBs."We used the eight-meter Gemini North telescope in Hawaii to ...

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