By Tim Binnall
The ongoing quest to decipher the mystery of fast radio bursts may have taken a considerable step forward as astronomers have found one such pulse that seems to follow a rather distinct pattern. The enigmatic and incredibly brief bursts of energy, also known as FRBs for short, have been the subject of serious scientific inquiry since they were first detected back in 2007. In the ensuing years, astronomers intrigued by the pulses have managed to find several more of them, including a total of ten bursts that are repeating.
And now a new study of one specific recurring FRB has reportedly yielded another possible insight into what may be causing the phenomenon, which is a question that has so far has been a mystery to scientists. Detected by the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment telescope last year, the pulse was found to occur around twice every hour over the course of four days, followed by twelve days of silence before the pattern began again. While this may seem like something of a mundane observation, scientists say that the discovery is a fairly significant clue.
Based on the way in which the pattern unfolds, astronomers postulate that the pulse may be coming from some celestial body that is orbiting something which obscures the bursts during those twelve days of silence. Other possible explanations put forward by researchers are that the repeating signal is coming from a spinning object or stellar winds are somehow involved in causing the patterns. Unfortunately, until astronomers are able to identify precisely what object is the source of the bursts, the answer to the mystery is merely a matter of conjecture