Astronomers discover a record of 25 new repeating fast radio bursts

Astronomers are always searching the universe in search of a new discovery for mankind. A team of researchers from the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) and the University of Toronto collaborated in a new study to discover 25 new repeating Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs). This discovery made astronomers double the number of repeating fast radio bursts of powerful radiation coming from distant galaxies outside the Milky Way galaxy.

The scientists closely studied the radio burst which outshines the entire galaxy where they are coming from and concluded that their origins are quite strange. Hence, the discovery of these new 25 FRBs increases the number of known repeating rapid radio bursts to 50. However, astronomers are still curious to find out what causes these radio bursts to emerge.

How the team of Astronomers recently discovered repeating Fast Radio Bursts

Over the last decade, astronomers have discovered many FRBs. However, most of these FRBs were non-repeating, implying that they only occurred once. Hence, only a small percentage of them have been discovered to repeat themselves. The unique difference between the two made scientists question the possibility of repeating FRBs and non-repeating FRBs emanating from the same source.

Astronomers also discovered the two bursts to have different characteristics. The difference in characteristics ranges from the duration of the fast radio bursts to the frequencies seen across them. Scientists closely studied these differences and concluded that the two types of FRBs may have varied origins.

“We can now accurately calculate the probability that two or more bursts coming from similar locations are not just a coincidence,” study team member Ziggy Pleunis, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto’s Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, said in a statement. “These new tools were essential for this study, and will also be very useful for similar research going forward.”

How Astronomers are Taking Advantages of Observatories in Discovering Fast Radio Burst

Not all observatories have the ability to discover FRBs in the universe. However, radio telescopes such as CHIME have helped astronomers to conduct thousands of observations in the entire northern sky every day. The observatory which is located at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory, near Penticton Canada is performing excellently when it comes to the detection of FRBs.

“That’s how CHIME has an edge over other telescopes when it comes to discovering FRBs,” Pleunis said.

Astronomers that participated in this study discovered that numerous repeating FRBs are not active. However, during CHIME’s observation time, the radio telescope discovered that the inactive repeating FRBs are generating one burst per week. Unlike non-repeating FRBs, repeating FRBs are very important to researchers as they create the opportunity to study the same FRBs source using other telescopes instead of relying on the particular telescope that spotted them in the first place.

“It is exciting that CHIME/FRB saw multiple flashes from the same locations, as this allows for the detailed investigation of their nature,” study team member Adaeze Ibik, a University of Toronto Ph.D. student, said in the same statement. “We were able to hone in on some of these repeating sources and have already identified likely associated galaxies for two of them.”

Based on the outcome of this observation, astronomers are seriously searching for data that could enable them to spot the origins of FRBs.

“FRBs are likely produced by the leftovers from explosive stellar deaths. By studying repeating FRB sources in detail, we can study the environments that these explosions occur in and understand better the end stages of a star’s life,” Pleunis said. “We can also learn more about the material that’s being expelled before and during the star’s demise, which is then returned to the galaxies that the FRBs live in.”

Astronomers published the new study on April 26 in the Astrophysical Journal.


Astronomical discoveries like this one often open inspire astronomers to advance our knowledge about the Universe. Future observations will enable scientists to determine the source of repeating and non-repeating FRBs. What do you think about this fascinating discovery?

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