Astronomers have observed an intense burst of radio energy for the first time in our Milky Way galaxy. The radio burst was first observed in 2007 but the source of these FRB (Fast radio burst) was too far to be identified. They burst out power which is 100 million times greater than our sun. It is a mysterious event as to what is the source of these amazing radio blaze.
This amazing event was observed by astronomers from MIT, McGill University, the University of British Columbia, the University of Toronto, the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, and many others. It is the closest FRB observed to date. As it has happened in our galaxy it has been helpful for us to determine its source. The study has been published in the journal Nature.
The observed radio energy was produced by a magnetar having a powerful magnetic field. It was a hypothetical concept that magnetars produce FRBs. But this time the hypothesis got into real observational proof that the magnetars are the source of the FRBs.
Kiyoshi Masui the team head analyzing the brightness of the FRBs says “There’s this great mystery as to what would produce these great outbursts of energy, which until now we’ve seen coming from halfway across the universe.This is the first time we’ve been able to tie one of these exotic fast radio bursts to a single astrophysical object.”
The signals of the FRB was observed with the help of the CHIME radio telescope the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory in British Columbia. At the end of April 2020 astronomers have observed the burst of radio energy from a magnetar ( nearly 30,000 light-years from the earth) in the Milky Way. Astronomers classify it as SGR 1935+2154 according to its coordinates.
Masui said, “There was some buzz in the astronomy community about this magnetar that had become active in the X-ray, and it had been mentioned within our collaboration that we should keep an eye out for something more from this magnetar.”
The next task was to calculate the brightness of the magnetar as it was bursting radio energy. The squad used calibration data from other sources to calculate the brightness of the magnetar. The observed calculation gave a conclusion that the magnetar, in the fraction of a second that the FRB flashed was 3,000 times brighter than any other observed till now.
Masui said “Measuring its brightness was really what established this is not a normal pulse. This is a fast radio burst happening in our galaxy, that is thousands of times brighter than any other pulse we’ve ever seen.”
As it is now confirmed that magnetars produce fast radio bursts but the question still remains unanswered “How magnetars produce FRB?”
According to Masui “It’s been doing interesting things, and we’re trying to piece together what it all means, We’ve got our eyes open for other magnetars, but the big thing now is to study this one source and drill down to see what it tells us about how FRBs are made.”
Overall the work performed is compelling as this is the first observation to find a link between the FRBs and magnetars.