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Synchronized telescope dance limits mysterious lightning in the sky



This is an outer tip of the MWA telescope, which is about 1
.5 km from the nucleus. The moon illuminates the tile and the ancient landscape. Credit: Peter Wheeler, ICRAR

Two outback radio telescopes, synchronized to observe the same celestial point, have discovered more about one of the universe's most mysterious events in a new research published today.

Curtin University's Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) and CSIRO's Australian SKA Pathfinder Telescope (ASKAP) scoured the skies for fast radio bursts that are exceptionally bright energy bolts from space

These extreme events last only for a millisecond, but are so bright that many astronomers initially rejected the first recorded rapid radio burst as an observation error.

Research published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters describes astronomers as ASKAP detecting several extremely-detected bright, fast radio bursts, but the MWA – which scans the sky at lower frequencies – has not seen anything, even though they are simultaneously aimed at the same sky range was.

Lead author Marcin Sokolowski, from the Curtin University node of the International Center for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR), said the fact that the fast radio bursts were not observed at lower frequencies was highly significant. [19659005] "If ASKAP sees these extremely bright events and the MWA does not, then that tells us something really unexpected is going on, either fast radio burst sources will not emit at low frequencies, or the signals will be on their way to Earth is blocked, "said Dr. Sokolowski.

Study co-author dr. Ramesh Bhat, who also works at ICRAR-Curtin, said that it required considerable coordination to simultaneously direct the CSIRO-guided ASKAP telescope and the Curtin-guided MWA telescope into the same sky.

Both telescopes could capture the same view due to the two telescopes lying side by side in the desert of the remote Murchison region of Western Australia.


"Fast radio bursts are unpredictable, so it's not easy to catch them if both telescopes look in the same direction," Dr. Bhat.

"It took many months ASKAP and MWA co-tracking The same sky realm that allows the best overlap of their views gives us the chance to capture some of these puzzling outbreaks."

"The challenge was to make everything happen automatically but it was really worth it. "19659005] ICRAR-Curtin astronomer Dr. Jean-Pierre Macquart, also a co-author of the research, said rapid radio bursts have astounded astronomers since the first blast was discovered in 2007. [19659005] "It's really exciting to have a clue about the origins of these incredible bursts of energy from outside our galaxy," said Dr. Macquart.

"The MWA adds an important piece of the puzzle and it was only through this" technological tango "between the two telescopes allows.

"It's an exciting development because it unites the two teams, and it brings with it the advantage of having two telescopes in the same place."

"Future coordination between teams will also benefit other areas of astronomy come because the complementary views of the two telescopes can provide a more complete picture of a situation. "


Further information:
Aussie telescope almost doubles number of mysterious & # 39; Fast Radio Bursts & # 39;

Further information:
M. Sokolowski et al. No low frequency emission from extremely bright fast radio bursts. The Astrophysical Journal Letters Volume 867, Number 1. 2018 October 29.

Citation in the Journal:
Astrophysical Journal Letters

Provided by:
International Center for Radio Astronomy Research


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