Thanks to the Sardinia Radio Telescope in Cagliari, a fast radio flash (a mysterious phenomenon discovered only a few years ago) has been identified closer to Earth, up to 40 times closer than anything else observed so far.
Named FRB 20200120E, it is located about 12 million light-years from our planet and has exploded in an unexpected region, a globular cluster full of old stars not as small and massive as expected.
The discovery was published in articles in Nature and Nature Astronomy by an international group of experts involving researchers from the National Institute of Astrophysics (Inaf). The FRB 20200120E fast radio flash, repeating itself over time, has its source in the Bod galaxy (M81 or NGC 3031), in the direction of the constellation Ursa Major.
To study it with the highest possible accuracy and sensitivity, the scientists combined measurements from 12 telescopes of the European VLBI Network (EVN) and combined them with data from several other telescopes. Among the antennas in question, all INAF radio telescopes were included: in addition to the Sardinia radio telescope also the radio telescopes of Messina (Bologna) and Noto (Syracuse). Experts suggest that FRB 20200120E comes from a highly magnetized neutron star formed by the collapse caused by the accretion of a white dwarf or the merger of stars merged into a binary system. Some of the flashes were shorter than expected: even a few tens of nanoseconds.
“This tells us that they come from a small size in the smallest space on a football field, perhaps only tens of meters in diameter,” says Kenzi Nemo, a researcher at Astron and the University of Amsterdam and first author of the Nature Astronomy paper. “Some of the signals we measured are very short and strong. This indicates that we are indeed seeing a magnetar, but in a place where it has not been found before.”
“The result is part of a very large project aimed at locating FRBs – explains Marta Borgay, Enav from Cagliari -. The goal is twofold: on the one hand to understand the distance that lies (and thus to determine all of their intrinsic properties, not just the apparent ones, first of all luminosity) and on the other hand to determine what kind of environment they arose, because they have indications of what their ancestors might have been.”
“It is above all the result of a very flexible way of using the European Radio Telescope Network outside of regular sessions – adds Gabriel Sources, also from INAF in Cagliari -. When there is time for a sufficient number of radio telescopes, a few candidates are selected and patiently observed until the arrival of the eruption. Fast radio, which is usually recognized using special detectors. At this point the signals of the entire network are combined and the location of the event is determined with great spatial accuracy.”
(Unioneonline / D)
© All Rights Reserved
“Internet trailblazer. Travelaholic. Passionate social media evangelist. Tv advocate.”