"At the end of a year we may have found 1,000 more bursts". Now, a new FRB is getting some serious attention for a very specific reason.
The exact origin of these radio waves or what causes them is unknown but some are speculating that they could be proof of the presence of advanced extraterrestrial civilizations. The new signal is known as FRB 180814.J0422+73.
Or, more accurately, it was the only one.
However, these aren't your usual everyday radio signals, carrying with it a rap number composed in some alien tongue billions of light years away.
A powerful intergalactic telescope used by astronomers in Canada has recorded 13 mysterious radio signals emanating from a distant galaxy, and the origin and nature of the radio waves is baffling scientists.
The mystery stems from the fact it is not known what could produce such a short and sharp burst.
One hypothesis is that powerful astrophysical phenomena are causing them. While most FRBs have been spotted at wavelengths of a few centimetres, the latest FRBs were detected at wavelengths of almost a metre.
Cornell University's Shami Chatterjee, a fellow FRB researcher, agreed: "This field is about to break wide open". 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. CHIME scans the entirety of the Northern Hemisphere every day and is expected to pick up dozens of FRBs per month when operating at full capacity. "Instead it uses digital signal processing to "point" the telescope and reconstruct where the radio waves are coming from", according to Kiyoshi Masui, an assistant professor at MIT's Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research. 400 Mhz is the lower limit of the CHIME experiment at the moment, so other FRBs at lower frequencies could simply be going undetected.
Another interesting twist has to do with the radio frequencies of the newly detected bursts.
Loeb said we now know of two repeaters out of about 60 known sources, which "implies that the repeater population is not negligible but also represents a small minority, less than a tenth, of the entire population of FRB sources".
"CHIME is still in its early days and most of the exciting results are yet to come", Smith said.
Artist's impression of the active galactic nucleus shows the supermassive black hole at the center of the accretion disk sending a narrow high-energy jet of matter into space, perpendicular to the disc in this image by Science Communication Lab in Kiel Germany, released on July 12, 2018.
The CHIME team, which designed and built the telescope, includes 14 scientists from the University of B.C. alongside others from McGill University, the University of Toronto, the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and the National Research Council of Canada.