Repeating Fast Radio Burst Origin Is Not what it was Believed

Rapid radio explosions (FRBs) are very fast and have very large emissions of radio waves. Their sources are unclear, and we do not know much about them. FRB 20180916B is one of the numbers that repeat with a certain defined time. An interesting explanation was put forward to explain this mysterious object – but it seems to be wrong. FRB 20180916 is repeated every 16.3 days, blasts are emitted within 5 days window and there is radio silence for subsequent days.

At first proposed, there was an assumption that the source orbited a partner, creating FRBs only at certain points through its orbit. The idea explained a lot of weirdness, but it started cracking earlier this year. Astronomers discovered that radio waves emit different wavelengths at different points, which is not consistent with the binary star model.

The results are available on ArXiV and have not yet been peer-reviewed. The team compares the observations with what we see in visible light. Short radio wavelengths, similar to the blue light of group similarity, appeared for the first two days of the explosion. A pair of orbiting stars is expected from the FRB model.

However, observations showed that long radio emissions similar to red light appeared for the next three days. This should not be the case. Lead author, Inés Pastor-Marazuela from the University of Amsterdam and ASTRON said in a statement, “Strong stellar winds were expected from the companion of the Fast Radio Burst source to escape most blue, short-wavelength radio light systems. But radar long-wavelength radios should be turned off more or even completely.”

Observations throw a spanner into the works of the binary star model, but not really enough to explain what causes FRB from this object. The basic explanation remains that the source is a kind of neutron star with a magnetic, incredible magnetic field.

Neutron stars are formed when stars of a certain mass range go to supernovae. In objects much larger than a tropical island, our sun’s mass compresses objects that rotate incredibly fast on their axis – hundreds of times per second. Here is the problem with this model. A singular magnet can explain these observations, but only if it rotates very slowly on its axis – about 100,000 times slower than the time of any other known neutron star.