Who’s Calling from Deep Space? Canadian Experiment Seeks Answers

Thanks to Canadian telescope, scientists are closer to solving one of astronomy’s biggest mysteries
Researchers using a powerful new Canadian telescope have detected six fast radio bursts from the same spot in the sky — a rare ‘repeater’

Sarah Kaplan: Washington Post

Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME): A new radio telescope has allowed space watchers to see bursts of light travelling from a far-away galaxy in a discovery they say could open new doors in astrophysics and cosmology. The revolutionary radio telescope housed in an observatory south of Penticton, B.C., is at the centre of the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment, or CHIME.Andre Recnik/Handout/The Canadian Press

Imagine a flash of radio energy so powerful it outshines the sun. Now imagine a flash like this going off nearly every minute all across the cosmos.

These are fast radio bursts, some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astronomy. Scientists don’t know where they come from, or what celestial event could be so dramatic yet common enough to produce thousands of bursts every day.

But they think they’re closing in on an answer. At the winter meeting of the American Astronomical Society this week, researchers at a powerful new Canadian telescope announced the detection of 13 new fast radio bursts (FRBs) in a mere two months of observations — a 20-per-cent increase over the five dozen bursts that have been found in the past 12 years.

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