Are you familiar with fast radio burst (FRB)? While it may seem like an unremarkable phenomenon to some, it has captivated astronomers, scientists, and space enthusiasts alike.
Part of its appeal lies in its enigmatic nature, as we still have much to learn about it. Imagine the excitement when scientists began to pick up multiple FRB signals within a short period of time, and the signals just kept coming. Space is home to many mysteries, and FRB is one of the most puzzling. It makes us wonder: who or what is trying to get our attention, and what could they possibly want from us?
But what is FRB exactly? FRBs are brief but intense bursts of radio emission that last for mere milliseconds. They possess the characteristic dispersion sweep of radio pulsars. The first instance of FRB was discovered by Dr. Duncan Lorimer in 2007, but upon scrutinizing archive data, scientists found that FRBs were detected around six years earlier in a pulsar survey of the Magellanic clouds.
It’s no surprise that FRB is also referred to as the Lorimer Burst. When telescopes capture an FRB, researchers pay close attention to a feature called dispersion, which measures how spread out an FRB is by the time it reaches Earth.