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Fast Radio Bursts Could be Caused by Pulsars Near Black Holes or Supernova Remnants

Accepted submission by takyon at 2018-01-11 07:28:02

Fast radio bursts [] (FRBs) may be caused by neutron stars (pulsars) experiencing unusual conditions [], such as proximity to a black hole or a highly magnetized wind nebula []:

The first FRB was discovered in 2007, in archived data from the Parkes Radio Telescope in Australia. Astronomers were searching for new examples of magnetised neutron stars called pulsars, but found a new phenomenon - a radio burst from 2001. Since then, 18 FRBs - also referred to as "flashes" or "sizzles" - have been found in total.

The mystery surrounding their nature has spawned a variety of different possible explanations, from black holes to extra-terrestrial intelligence.

Only one of these sources of radio energy has erupted more than once - a so-called burster catalogued as FRB 121102. This FRB has sent out around 150 flashes since its discovery in 2012.

Now, in the journal Nature [] [DOI: 10.1038/nature25149] [DX []], a team of scientists explains how the emission might come from a neutron star, perhaps one near a black hole or one embedded in a nebula.

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