Recently, astronomers detected a significant burst of radio waves emanating from our galaxy. Telescopes worldwide are sharing details on electromagnetic radiation from the direction of a hugely magnetic neutron star, known as SGR 1935+2154. The unexpected observation could support researchers comprehend what’s the deal with those odd emissions, dubbed FRBs (Fast Radio Bursts). Until now, such FRBs never originated from within our galaxy.
FRBs are strong, but short bursts of radio waves that astronomers measure and examine. They always came from outside the Milky Way, until recent observations. Astronomers detected the first FRB using the Parkes radio telescope back in 2001. Since then, they have successfully tracked many more, even some that repeat at regular intervals. Might be evidence of extraterrestrial life? We don’t know yet.
Because these FRBs come from far away galaxies, it’s been challenging to tell what causes them. The only most likely culprit has been the SGR 1935+2154, which is a magnetar, but studies are not concluded yet.
The first fast radio bursts from within our galaxy have been detected
SGR 1935+2154 started to act strangely on April 27, 2020. Lots of x-rays and gamma rays have been emitted, leading astronomers to believe that the magnetar is beginning to be more active. Telescopes such as the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, the Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory, and the Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) were the ones that first spotted the magnetar’s unusual activity.
Talking about the massive number of fast radio bursts, Jamie Kennea from the Pennsylvania State University said: “They’re coming so rapidly and close together that they become almost indistinguishable from one another.”
But the unexpected occurred when the CHIME Telescope in Canada detected fast radio bursts waves. They appeared to be outside the direct line of CHIME, but the telescope still succeeded in capturing them. Victoria Kaspi, Professor of Physics at the McGill University, detailed: “I think it’s worth still being cautious when claiming that magnetars can certainly exhibit FRB-type luminosities, but this event is certainly encouraging.”