In the recent years, many astronomers have been puzzled by the elusive nature of fast radio bursts. The pulses can last for a few milliseconds, and the short duration hinders the task of researching them.
The initial discovery took place in 2007 when an American astronomer observed a fast radio pulse during the observation of pulsar survey data. FRBs are also known under the name of Lorimer Bursts, after the researchers who identified them. Since then, a large number of FRBs have been spotted, but most tend to follow an irregular pattern.
Relevant data has been collected with the help of radio telescopes spread around the world, but the exact causes which lead to the release of fast radio bursts remain a mystery for now. Researchers have managed to trace some of them back to their home galaxy, and a list of potential causes is available but remains highly controversial.
Fast radio bursts continue to puzzle the scientists
One of the most exciting aspects is represented by the fact that fast radio pulses are incredibly intense, reaching an amount of energy output that would require hundreds of millions of stars. Such intensity infers that massive objects among which we can count black holes and neutron stars could play an essential role in the formation of FRBs.
For a long while, it was thought that the emission of FRBs is a singular event, but in 2016, astronomers observed that several bursts came from the same source. Several repeaters have been spotted in recent years, and it thought that most FRB sources could release several pulses, but this occurred at irregular intervals.
A significant discovery took place in January 2020 when an FRB that was observed three years ago was seen again at least two times. Further research led to the development of a new FRB, which features a regular pattern, with four days of activity being followed by 12 days of peace.