Scientists for the first time have discovered fast radio signals from outer space that is beating at a steady 16-day cycle. Reports have indicated that the signal is coming from the outskirts of a distant galaxy. It is being estimated that the galaxy is 500 million lightyears away.
While the detection of Fast Radio Burts (FRB) are rare, they have occurred in the past but this will be the first instance that scientists have discovered these signals in steady periodic bursts. This discovery could be a major step forward in discovering the origin of these signals.
FRB was first discovered back in 2007. It is believed that the powerful radio bursts are produced by energetic sources but scientists are unsure about their source. FRB's can be of two types, they can either be one-offs or what is known in the scientific community as 'repeaters'. One-offs appear only once but repeaters emit multiple flashed to Earth.
The Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment Fast Radio Burst Project (CHIME/FRB) was the first group to detect the 16-day cycle FRB in 2018. From September 2018 to October 2019 the team used a CHIME radio telescope in British Columbia to keep tabs of the FRB they designated FRB 180916.J0158+65.
According to their paper published in later January, the cyclic FRB they detected was the first of its kind and they considered it to be an important clue in the future identification of the source of the sound.
Scientists in the past have suggested that flares from highly magnetized neutron stars, called magnetars, might be the source of some FRBs but magnetars tend to rotate every few seconds meaning that it would be impossible for them to make a 16-day cycle burst.
The mystery of Fast Radio Bursts have baffled scientists for over a decade but the discovery of a clear tempo and pattern from these sources provides a significant lead for scientists to follow.