Science

Mysterious peritios: astronomers face the trap of interpretation – Science et Avenir

This article is taken from the monthly journal Sciences et Avenir – La Recherche #907 of September 2022.

Nicknamed the Dish, the radio telescope in Parkes, Australia, has seen its heyday. He took part in the relay of the first steps on the moon in 1969. First of all, he recorded in 2001 the first ever identified fast radio burst (FRB) emanating from the Small Magellanic Cloud. However, it will be necessary to wait until 2007 for this event to be discovered through the analysis of archival data. Then other older observatory data are analyzed.

So in 2011, Sarah Burke-Spolaor, a professor at West Virginia University (USA), found a series of strange bursts of radio waves with a duration of several milliseconds, recorded since 1998. These events are similar to FRBs but seem to come from all over the sky. The Parkes telescope does indeed use a receiver consisting of 13 pixels, each corresponding to an area of ​​the sky. Wave momentum from a distant star usually appears in only one pixel. But new Parkes signals appeared, them, in 13 pixels at the same time!

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