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Mysterious lightning that comes from deep space. A network composed of more sophisticated radio telescopes in the world, including the antenna 32 meters INAF located in Medicina (Italy), resulting in the location with pinpoint accuracy lightning fast radio, a signal which lasts only a few milliseconds and whose origin is still unknown. A Milky Way extremely bright, light rings around exploded stars, gas plumes that escape from blacks holes.

Mysterious lightning that comes from deep space.

Plus some points that light up periodically, as if they were cosmic lighthouses: pulsars. Until a few years ago, a map of the radio emission sky looked like this. In 2007, however, we were new discoveries and mysterious sources emitting in this portion of the electromagnetic spectrum: the fast radio bursts (fast burst radio, FRB). New research published in “Nature” by an international research team that includes the National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF) has identified the location of one of these elusive phenomena with impressive precision. Fast radio bursts are one of the most interesting astrophysical phenomena discovered in the last decade, during which we were not able to identify the exact origin of these energetic explosions. The new discovery, also made possible thanks to the participation of radio telescopes we have in Italy, is a source of great excitement, because it provides new information and crucial for understanding the physics of this phenomenon: the object distance of origin, accurately identified in a remote galaxy. 

Mysterious lightning that comes from deep space.

The fast radio bursts are extremely rare: thus far have been identified only 18. In addition, appear randomly in the sky and last for an extremely short time interval, equal to a few thousandths of a second, during which change color: that is, they pass by a frequency of high emission at a low. This occurs because of a leakage phenomenon, due to the fact that the radiation must in fact pass through a significant distance – and consequently, cross material – before arriving to terrestrial observers. Astrophysicists estimate that the flashes are the most distant radio signals so far detected in the known universe. The opportunity to better understand the origin of these extreme events was presented with a study conducted at the beginning of 2016 with William E. Gordon Telescope Arecibo Observatory (Italy), which documented a flash radio called FRB 121102 that is repeated in time, but not in a periodic fashion. In addition, its spectrum, that is, the set of its frequencies, was very different from that of other typical pulsar. The authors pointed to the region of origin of FRB 121102 the largest and most powerful currently available on Earth observation instrument: a network of the most advanced telescopes in the world, linked to use an interferometric technique known as VLBI, which produces images with a resolution unmatched. 

Mysterious lightning that comes from deep space.

In practice, the researchers began by limiting the signal source area with the VLA, a radio telescope which is based in New Mexico. Then, using the Arecibo Observatory and the European VLBI Network (EVN), which includes the antenna 32 meters INAF located in Medicina, near Bologna (Italy), they have reached an accuracy ten times greater than the measurement of VLA. But what may have caused the lightning fast radio FRB 121102? Everything suggests that the source is a supermassive Black Hole, as already suggested in previous studies. 

Mysterious lightning that comes from deep space.

The problem is that usually the supermassive Blacks Holes are located at the center of large galaxies, but for which there is no trace around FRB 121102. So it might be a dwarf galaxy, an environment that supports the creation of very massive stars . in this case, the most probable hypothesis is that the lightning is produced by the collapse of one of these stars. Or there may be no galaxy, and in this case the hole would be isolated. The new study therefore leaves many open questions which will have to answer future research.

Mysterious lightning that comes from deep space.

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To open the video click on the image, good view from your Alessandro Brizzi.



Mysterious lightning that comes from deep space.