Once again, a mystery radio signal from outer space is causing us to reevaluate our theories about these strange events. Not only is FRB 20191221A an exceedingly unusual repeater, but the flashes intercepted throughout intergalactic space are 3 seconds long, nearly 1,000 times longer than the normal length of radio flashes.
There are, however, bursts of increased radiation intensity occurring every 0.2 seconds inside this three-second interval, which has never previously been seen in a rapid radio burst.
Not only was it very long, lasting about three seconds, but there were periodic peaks that were remarkably precise, emitting every fraction of a second – boom, boom, boom – like a heartbeat. This is the first time the signal itself is periodic.
When the CHIME detector picked up the signal in December 2019, experts realized they were on to something strange. One of the universe’s most intriguing contemporary mysteries is the origin of fast radio bursts. Radiation in the radio frequencies flares from intergalactic space every milliseconds, making them extraordinarily intense bursts of radiation. There is enough energy released in the explosion to power 500 million Suns in only a few hundred milliseconds.
The majority of quick radio bursts are only visible for a brief period of time before disappearing. A radio telescope must be oriented in the proper direction at the appropriate time in order to detect one of them. Typically, they are the most prevalent sort of FRBs.
Multiple signals from the same location in the sky occur much less often. These are the rapidly recurring radio blasts that you’ve been hearing. Scientists may use a telescope to investigate the signals in more detail since they recur. However, it’s not obvious whether the same process is responsible for all quick radio bursts.
Their intensity, wavelength, polarization and dispersal may all be manipulated to achieve different effects. In 2020, for the first time, a rapid radio burst from inside the Milky Way was observed. Fast radio bursts have been linked to a form of neutron star known as a magnetar, which is strongly magnetic and ultradense.