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Fast radio burst

2020 NOV 6

Preliminary   > Science and Technology   >   Space technology   >   Cosmology

Why in news?

  • NASA has reported that on April 28, it observed a mix of X-ray and radio signals never observed before in the Milky Way.
  • Significantly, the flare-up it observed included the first fast radio burst (FRB) seen within the galaxy.

About FRBs:

  • Essentially, FRBs are bright bursts of radio waves (radio waves can be produced by astronomical objects with changing magnetic fields) whose durations lie in the millisecond-scale, because of which it is difficult to detect them and determine their position in the sky.
  • The first FRB was discovered in 2007, since when scientists have been working towards finding the source of their origin.
  • The source of the FRB detected in April in the Milky Way is a very powerful magnetic neutron star, referred to as a magnetar, called SGR 1935+2154 or SGR 1935, which is located in the constellation Vulpecula and is estimated to be between 14,000-41,000 light-years away.
  • The X-ray portion of the simultaneous bursts was detected by several satellites, including NASA’s Wind mission, and the radio component was discovered by the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME), a radio telescope located at Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory in British Columbia,Canada.

What is a magnetar?

  • As per NASA, a magnetar is a neutron star, “the crushed, city-size remains of a star many times more massive than our Sun.”
  • The magnetic field of such a star is very powerful, which can be up to a thousand times stronger than a typical neutron star’s.
  • Neutron stars are formed when the core of a massive star undergoes gravitational collapse when it reaches the end of its life. This results in the matter being so tightly packed that even a sugar-cube sized amount of material taken from such a star weighs more than 1 billion tons, which is about the same as the weight of Mount Everest, according to NASA.


Which of the following astrophysicists has one of Nasa’s Great Observatories  (Telescopes) named after him?
(a)Jayant Narlikar 
(b)Meghnad Saha
(c)Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar
(d)Sandip Chakrabarti

Answer to prelims question