Astrophysics Seminar with Jonathan Katz on Fast Radio Bursts
The sources of Fast Radio Bursts (FRB) have been a mystery since their discovery in 2007. They are divided into two apparently disjoint classes: repeaters, observed to repeat roughly once per minute, and non-repeaters. Recent sensitive observations of more than 1500 bursts from each of two repeaters have failed to find evidence for the periodicity expected if their origins are neutron stars. I therefore suggest that their origins are accretion discs around intermediate mass black holes. The rate of apparently non-repeating radio bursts exceeds that of all known catastrophic astronomical events, implying that these FRB, too, repeat, but rarely; the observed bursts are true outliers. Soft Gamma Repeaters also show true outliers; a similar phenomenon may be the source of apparently non-repeating FRB.
Sponsored by the McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences.