Fast radio burst
Lorimer, Duncan Department of Physics, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia.
Last reviewed:November 2019
- Properties of FRBs
- Repeating FRBs
- Further host galaxy identifications
- FRBs as tools
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
A celestial source of millisecond-duration, highly dispersed pulses of radio waves emanating from cosmological distances. Fast radio bursts (FRBs), first discovered in 2007, are distributed uniformly across the sky and are thought to have been emitted from sources outside the Milky Way Galaxy. Over 100 FRBs are known and have been observed with various radio telescopes (Fig. 1) operating in the frequency range of 400 MHz to 8 GHz (80-cm to 3-cm wavelength). Although the vast majority of sources so far have been detected only once, a growing fraction of the population is known to emit repeat bursts, significantly improving the chances of ultimately identifying the source or sources of FRBs. Hypothesized source phenomena for FRBs have included the energetic collisions of compact objects such as black holes and neutron stars, the flaring of highly magnetized neutron stars known as magnetars, extremely intense supernovae, gamma-ray bursts, and—most speculatively—communications or other technologies used by intelligent extraterrestrial life. See also: Black hole; Electromagnetic radiation; Extraterrestrial life; Milky Way Galaxy; Neutron star; Star; Supernova
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