Category: galactic halo

One Cosmic Mystery Illuminates Another, As Fast Radio Burst Intercepts A Galactic Halo

“Although scientists have studied [Fast Radio Bursts] intensely since their discovery, their origins remain mysterious. Meanwhile, an estimated 2 trillion galaxies populate our observable Universe. With incredibly large distances for FRBs to traverse, each one risks passing through an intervening galaxy. Giving off multiple pulses of under 40 microseconds apiece, FRB 181112 became the first burst to intercept a galactic halo.”

Where do fast radio bursts come from? Recent studies have demonstrated that they’re associated with host galaxies, but we don’t understand how they work, why some of them repeat, or why the pulse durations are so variable.

What about galactic halos: how much gas is in them? What is the gas temperature, density, magnetization, etc.? These are big questions about galaxies in general that we don’t have a general picture of. If only there were some way to learn more.

How about luck? We got lucky, in November of 2018, when for the first time a fast radio burst passed through a foreground galaxy’s halo. What did we learn? Come get (and see) the full story!