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Discovery reveals a reversible magnetic field around a fast radio burst for the first time

Astronomers using our Parkes radio telescope, Murriyang have found a mysterious fast radio burst where the magnetic field changes direction rapidly.

Published in the prestigious Science journal are observations of a repeating FRB, dubbed '20190520B', made over a 17-month period using the Parkes radio telescope, Murriyang and its ultra-wideband receiver, and the Green Bank Telescope in the US.

The study found FRB 20190520B is surrounded by dense plasma that is not only highly magnetised but also highly turbulent, with the direction of the magnetic field changing twice during this period, a phenomenon never observed before. 

Dr Shi Dai, lead co-author and ARC DECRA Fellow from Western Sydney University's School of Science, said the findings bring us closer to solving the enigma of FRBs and help us to uncover new insights into some of the most extreme environments in the Universe.

First discovered in 2007 by astronomers using the Parkes telescope, FRBs have since become one of the most active areas of research in modern astrophysics. However, despite extensive efforts, scientists are still uncertain about their exact origin.

Read and download the paper here:

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Added by Gabby Russell on 2023-05-19

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