New clues about mysterious radio waves from deep space

NASA’s two X-ray telescopes have spotted a mysterious thing blast of radio wavesIs known FRB For its short name in English, just a few minutes before and after it happens.

According to a statement from the agency, this unprecedented sighting points scientists toward a better understanding of these extreme radio events.

Although they only last a fraction of a second FRB (Fast Radio Burst) They can release as much energy as the Sun releases in a year. Their light also creates a laser-like beam, which distinguishes them from more chaotic cosmic explosions.

Where do they come from?

Because the explosions are so brief, it is often difficult to determine where they are coming from. Before 2020, those whose origins were traced originated outside our own galaxy, too far away for astronomers to see what created them. then one quick burst of radio An extremely dense object caused the explosion in Earth’s home galaxy, the Milky Way to attract: the collapsed remains of an exploded star.

Same in October 2022 to attractCalled SGR 1935+2154, another rapid explosion radio, has been studied in detail by NASA’s NICER (Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer) on the International Space Station and NuSTAR (Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array) in low Earth orbit. telescopes observed to attract For hours, observing what happened before and after, on and around the surface of the source object intense radio burst,

The results, described in a new study published Feb. 14 in the journal Nature, are an example of how NASA telescopes can work together to observe and track short-term events in the universe.

The explosion occurred between two “failures”, when to attract He suddenly started spinning fast. SGR 1935+2154 is estimated to be about 20 kilometers wide and rotates about 3.2 times per second, meaning its surface is spinning at about 11,000 kilometers per hour.

To slow it down or speed it up would require a considerable amount of energy. That’s why the study authors were surprised to see that among the failures to attract In just nine hours its speed dropped to below pre-failure levels, or about 100 times faster than any observed speed at any time. to attract,

“Generally, when failures occur, to attract “It takes weeks or months to return to our normal speed,” Chin-Ping Hu, an astronomer at the National Changhua University of Education in Taiwan and lead author of the new study, said in a statement. “There are clearly things happening with these objects.” in a much shorter time than we previously thought, and this may be related to how quickly radio blast,

Trying to understand exactly how magnet produce loud radio burstScientists have to consider many variables.

For example, magnet (which are a type of neutron star) are so dense that a teaspoon of their material would weigh about a billion tons on Earth. Such a high density also means a strong gravitational pull: a marshmallow falling on a typical neutron star would be hit with the force of one of the first nuclear bombs.

Strong gravity means that the surface of a to attract It is an unstable place, which periodically emits bursts of high energy X-rays and light. before intense radio burst which happened in 2022 to attract Began to release bursts of X-rays and gamma rays (even more energetic wavelengths of light) that were observed in the peripheral vision of high-energy space telescopes. This increase in activity prompted mission operators to aim directly at NICER and NuSTAR to attract,

“All of the X-ray bursts that occurred before this failure had, in theory, enough energy to create a fast radio burstBut they didn’t,” said study co-author Zorawar Wadiasingh, a research scientist at the University of Maryland, College Park and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “So it seems that something changed during the recession period, leading to The correct set has been constructed. of conditions.”

Like the water inside a swirling fish tank

What else could have happened to produce SGR 1935+2154 fast radio burst, One factor may be that a. outer part of to attract It is solid and the higher density crushes the interior into a state called superfluid. Sometimes, the two may get out of sync, like water slipping around in a spinning fish tank. When this happens, the fluid can provide energy to the cortex. The authors of the article believe that this is likely what led to both failures. fast radio burst,

If initial failure causes surface cracking to attract, material from the star’s interior could have been released into space in the form of volcanic eruptions. The loss of mass causes rotating objects to slow down, so researchers believe this could explain the rapid deceleration to attract,

But having observed only one of these phenomena in real time, the team still can’t say with certainty which of these factors (or others, such as powerful magnetic fields) caused it. to attract) can lead to the production of fast radio burst, Some may have no connection at all with the explosion.

“Without a doubt, we have seen something important for our understanding loud radio bursts,” said George Yunus, a Goddard researcher and expert member of the NICER science team. magnet, “But I think we still need a lot more data to complete the mystery.” (With information from Europa Press)

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