From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : CHIME Telescope, Fast Radio Bursts
Mains level : NA
Scientists with the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) Collaboration have assembled the largest collection of fast radio bursts (FRBs) in the telescope’s first FRB catalog.
- CHIME is an interferometric radio telescope at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory in British Columbia, Canada.
- It consists of four antennas consisting of 100 x 20-meter cylindrical parabolic reflectors with 1024 dual-polarization radio receivers suspended on support above them.
- The telescope receives radio signals each day from half of the sky as the Earth rotates.
- While most radio astronomy is done by swiveling a large dish to focus light from different parts of the sky, CHIME stares, motionless, at the sky, and focuses incoming signals using a correlator.
- This is a powerful digital signal processor that can work through huge amounts of data, at a rate of about seven terrabytes per second, equivalent to a few percent of the world’s Internet traffic.
What are FRBs?
- FRBs are oddly bright flashes of light, registering in the radio band of the electromagnetic spectrum, which blaze for a few milliseconds before vanishing without a trace.
- These brief and mysterious beacons have been spotted in various and distant parts of the universe, as well as in our own galaxy.
- Their origins are unknown and their appearance is highly unpredictable.
- But the advent of the CHIME project has nearly quadrupled the number of fast radio bursts discovered to date.
- With more observations, astronomers hope soon to pin down the extreme origins of these curiously bright signals.