A new radio telescope in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley has detected 13 new sources of mysterious extragalactic phenomena known as fast radio bursts, including the second known source of repeated bursts.
And the experiment is just barely getting started.
The Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment, or CHIME, picked up the radio signatures of the bursts over the course of three weeks in July and August, while the telescope was in its pre-commissioning phase and running at only a fraction of its design capacity.
Fast radio bursts, also known as FRBs, are powerful spikes of radio emissions that emanate from galaxies beyond our own Milky Way and last for mere milliseconds. Only 60 FRB sources have been detected, including the 13 announced today.
“Their origin is still unknown,” said the University of British Columbia astronomer Deborah Good, one of the co-authors of two papers about the detections published today by the journal Nature.