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Feb 20, 2020

A Fast Radio Burst From Another Galaxy Seems To Be Repeating In A 16-Day Cycle

A radio telescope has discovered a fast radio burst (FRB) from another galaxy that seems to move in a 16-day regular cycle,
as stated by a new scientific paper on the preprint server arXiv,
which is still pending to be peer-reviewed.
Nothing like this has been seen or observed before.
If these reasons are right, it’s the first time that fast radio bursts (FRBs) have been reported repeating
in a constant cycle. Before you even ask, it’s probably not ET or aliens.
Still, these observations and studies could help to shed light on this deeply weird phenomenon.
Fast radio bursts (FRB) are strong blasts of radio emissions that lead to as much energy in a milli-second burst as the Sun does in decades.
Whatever is causing them ought to be unimaginably powerful, yet their origin remains mysterious.
Theories involve evaporating black holes, a disastrous collision in the cosmos, and rotating huge
astronomical bodies, such as a immensely magnetized neutron star.
Astronomers have proposed it could be signals from an advanced alien civilization,
however that theory isn’t taken very seriously.
The very first FRB was detected in 2007 through stored data recorded in 2001,
so astronomers are still only just getting to grips with this strange phenomenon.
Most FRBs have only been discovered as ultra-brief energy bursts in a one-off event,
still a few have been detected as a persistent event.
This newly arrived discovery, however, appears to be in a regularly repeating cycle.
The event, known as FRB 180916.J0158+65,
seems to be coming from a spiral galaxy less than five hundred (500) million light-years away from Earth,
making it the closest FRB detected to date.
The newly arrived research used the CHIME (Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment)
in British Columbia to record 28 bursts between September 16, 2018, and October 30, 2019. 
This showed bursts every hour or so over the period of four days, before getting silent for 12 days.
Then, the same repetition of activity would happen again,
producing an elegantly packaged cycle lasting around 16.35 days. 
We conclude that this is the first detected periodicity of any kind in an FRB source,” they write in a paper. “The discovery of a 16.35-day periodicity in a repeating FRB source is a key clue to the nature of this object."

In theory, understanding the design of the cycle could give some clues of what’s generating the signals.
For example, the cycle could be a sign of an astronomical body’s rotation or an orbital period.
Still, for now, FRBs remain as mysterious as ever. 

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