“Powerful radio pulses originating deep in the cosmos can be used to study hidden pools of gas cocooning nearby galaxies, “according to a new study appearing in the journal Nature Astronomy.
Typical fast radio bursts, or FRBs, are pulses of radio waves that generally originate millions to billions of light-years away ( the radio waves are electromagnetic radiation similar to the light we see with our eyes but possess longer wavelengths and frequencies). The first FRB was founded in 2007, and a lot has been founded since then. In 2020, Caltech’s STARE2 instrument and Canada’s CHIME (Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment) observed a massive FRB lost in our Milky Way galaxy. The previous results helped verify the theory that the energetic events were most likely generated from dead, magnetized stars known as magnetars.
“Our study shows that FRBs can act as skewers of all the matter between our radio telescopes and the source of the radio waves,” explains the lead author Liam Connor, the Tolman Postdoctoral Scholar Research Associate in Astronomy, who works with assistant professor of astronomy and study co-author, Vikram Ravi.
“We have used fast radio bursts to shine a light through the halos of galaxies near the Milky Way and measure their hidden material,” Connor says.
The study also records more matter around the galaxies than anticipated. Specifically, about twice as much gas as theoretical models anticipated.