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29th of October 2020
FAST radio bursts
by Luo et al.
This week's issue of Nature contains a report on the detection of Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) from a repeating FRB source using the Five-hundred-metre Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) in China. The source FRB180301 was discovered with the Parkes radio telescope, with just a single burst detected from this direction. Observations with FAST between July and October 2019, for a total of 12 hours, resulted in the detection of 15 FRBs, making FRB180301 an active repeater, similar to FRB121102. Due to its high sensitivity, the FAST observations enabled the polarisation properties of the bursts to be studied, revealing a diversity of polarisation properties, including wide swings in polariation angle across a milli-second duration burst. Luo et al. conclude the diversity of the polarization angle features is consistent with a magnetospheric origin of the radio emission, and disfavours the radiation models invoking relativistic shocks. The FAST observations were made with the 19-beam receiver built by CASS. The image above is taken from the telescope surface, looking up at the focus cabin suspended above the dish. (Image credit: NAOC-FAST)

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