Second mysterious repeating fast radio burst has been detected in space

The uniquely shaped CHIME telescope in British Columbia

Astronomers revealed Wednesday that they received mysterious signals from a distant galaxy.

The 13 radio bursts were picked up by a telescope at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory in Canada.

Over time, Stairs says researchers will hopefully be able to develop a "clearer picture" that could lead to figuring out what exactly is producing these radio waves. That suggests there might be even more of them, too low to be picked up by telescopes.

Shriharsh Tendulkar, an astronomer from the McGill Space Institute and a co-author of the new study, said radio frequencies help scientists understand possible emission mechanisms, or processes, of FRBs, and also the effects that the radio waves encounter as they travel through space. The telescope responsible for these findings, the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment, or CHIME, promises to be the most effective FRB hunter in operation.

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What is it?: Scientists remain undecided about what created the blasts.

Theories range from highly magnetized neutron stars blasted by gas streams from a nearby supermassive black hole, to signatures of technology developed by an advanced civilisation. A minority of observers considered the possibility of an alien spaceship, BBC News reports. Of the 13 reported here, one event has the lowest dispersion measure yet reported, implying that it is among the closest yet known, and another has shown multiple repeat bursts... "But intelligent life is not on the minds of any astronomer as a source of these FRBs". Dwindling funds from the US government and construction of bigger, more powerful telescopes are threatening this telescope's future. "New racks of compute nodes were being installed and the number of nodes operating, and hence beams on sky, varied from day to day", its scientists say. FRBs last for just a few milliseconds, and their unpredictable displays make observations notoriously hard.

Since the first discovery a decade earlier, roughly 60 bursts have been observed by five different telescopes worldwide.

One of the newly detected bursts is a rare "repeater" - researchers saw six flashes coming from the same spot in the sky, which they hope will make it easier to pin down the source of the signal. Cherry Ng, an astronomer at the University of Toronto. And the existence of a second repeater means 2012's was not a fluke or an instrument error - something is producing these repeating bursts of light, and it's clearly fixed in place over long periods of time.

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These 13 FRBs, which include the repeater, were detected on a much lower frequency than had been detected before.

"Whatever the source of these radio waves is, it's interesting to see how wide a range of frequencies it can produce".

That high rate of discovery suggests that FBRs, let alone repeating FBRs, may not be as unique as we think, said Perimeter Institute faculty member Kendrick Smith.

To which he added: "CHIME is the most prolific FRB hunter in the world and we are looking forward to sharing new results in the upcoming months".

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