Radio signals in deep space can come from a rare type of star

Radio signals in deep space can come from a rare type of star

In 2018, astronomers discovered an event known as “FRB” – or “Fast Radio Release” for short – which they thought was emitted by a binary star system. However, a new study was published in nature She rejected this idea, rejected this possibility, and admitted something much rarer in her place.

The so-called “FRB 20180916B” emits radio signals once every 16 days, and according to researcher Ines Pastor Marazuela, an astrophysicist at the University of Amsterdam, the transmitter of these signals could be magnetize, which is a very rare type of neutron star, and is considered the strongest magnet in the universe.

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On the left, the blue lights of “FRB 20180916B” and on the right the red lights are more numerous. This arrangement refutes previous research that the FRBs originated from a binary star system. Photo: University of Amsterdam / Disclosure

Previously, the binary system – a system in which one star works with another – was believed to influence the “color” of radio signals, depending on their frequencies: in relation to visible light, the shortest waves are blue, while the longest ones are red.

If the source of the signals emitted by “FRB-20180916B” is a binary star system, previous research predicted that strong stellar winds laden with energetic particles would allow more blue light to escape, while at the same time blocking more or all of the red light. .

“These models looked like the most likely scenarios before our study,” said Pasteur-Marazuela, who and his team decided to put this thesis to the test, by combining analyzes from two of the world’s largest telescopes.low frequency bay) and WSRT (Westerbork Synthetic Radio Telescope), both located in the Netherlands. Using one, they programmed the blue light scan, while the other scanned the red light, but both were on at the same time.

The result: two days of blue light and three days of red light, completely refuting previous research because the observation rejected the hypothesis of a binary star system.

However, the magnetar would be suitable for observation, according to Astor Marazuela. There is only one problem with this assumption: Historically, magnets have been known to spin numerous, thanks to their advanced spin speed. An object of this type, emitting signals every 16 days, might involve a fairly slow rotation, something unheard of until today.

Studying FRBs is an important part of astronomy: Roughly speaking, just one hit from them can provide more energy in milliseconds than the Sun in a century. However, the name “quick hits” is not without reason: they happen and disappear, literally, in the blink of an eye. So our knowledge of them is somewhat superficial.

However, the periodic nature of “FRB 20180916B” gives us more room to observe and study the phenomenon, and the new study suggests that some of these jets may be devoid of any nearby matter, such as a dense cloud of electrons. It can obscure the observed colors. Such pure signals could help researchers solve a long-standing scientific puzzle: the location of half of the baryonic matter in the universe.

Let’s remember that “baryons” are observable space matter. Made up of particles called “baryons,” they make up stars, planets, and galaxies. However, we have only noticed about 50% of it so far. Scientists theorize that FRBs could help with this: When signals pass through baryonic clouds, blue lights are assumed to be trapped more than red lights.

By evaluating the time difference in which the red and blue lights arrive on Earth, it is possible to estimate how many baryon clouds the FRBs have passed in their path.

The study is evaluated by peers to confirm the hypothesis.

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