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Telescope Detects Fast Radio Burst Hitting Earth Every 16 Days – Gizmodo

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Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) telescope

A telescope in Canada has found a source of mysterious fast radio bursts that repeat every 16 days, according to a new paper. It’s the first regularly repeating fast radio burst known to science.

Fast radio bursts (FRB) are bright radio blips that originate from deep space. After the initial fast radio burst discovery in 2001, astronomers have found more of these events, at first sporadically and now more frequently with the help of the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment Fast Radio Burst (CHIME/FRB) Project. Though scientists have previously found repeating FRBs, the newly reported object, called FRB 180916.J0158+65, is the first known to burst at regular intervals.

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Last year, CHIME/FRB reported finding eight new sources of FRBs, including this repeating one, which is located in a relatively nearby spiral galaxy. From September 2018 to November 2019, the experiment detected 28 bursts from FRB 180916.J0158+65, according to the paper recently published on the arXiv physics preprint server.

Based on the statistical tests, run by the international collaboration of scientists led by Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics graduate student Dongzi Li, FRB 180916.J0158+65 emitted its fast blip every 16 days or so. They had enough data to more or less rule out that the periodicity was due to coincidence. The European Very-long-baseline-interferometry Network (EVN) of telescopes corroborated the source by spotting a burst from this FRB on June 19, 2019.

CHIME is a radio telescope in southern British Columbia consisting of four half-cylinders laid side by side, acting as fixed antennae to map the sky. CHIME is designed to map the emission from hydrogen, the universe’s most abundant element, thanks to its wide field of view and the broad range of electromagnetic radiation frequencies it can capture. But the instrument is also adept at hunting for FRBs, as scans 1,024 points in the sky at 16,000 different frequencies, 1,000 times per second, according to the CHIME website.

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The mere presence of periodicity in this FRB might give clues into what object could be producing it, according to the paper. Perhaps whatever is producing the radio bursts forms a binary with another celestial body, though the current data doesn’t reveal the identity of the FRB or the companion. Perhaps the object is a rotating magnetar, a kind of compact, magnetized neutron star—though the researchers point out that magnetars typically have rotation periods of less than 12 seconds, far shorter than the 16 days recorded here.

Researchers with knowledge of the paper declined to speak with Gizmodo, since the peer-reviewed version of the paper is currently under embargo by a major scientific journal.

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The paper concludes that future observations will need to be carried out at all possible frequencies in order to distinguish between various hypotheses as to what this FRB could be.

We’ve been covering FRBs with much excitement due to their truly “alien” nature, though they’re probably not signals from an intelligent extraterrestrial society. While scientists have detected repeating FRBs before, more observations of periodically repeating FRB might add some clarity—or more frustrating confusion—to the story.

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University of Calgary study examines if Mars could have once supported life – Ottawa.CityNews.ca

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Was there ever life on Mars?

Using data from the Curiosity rover, a University of Calgary (UofC) scientist is studying Mars’ geology “for signs the planet could have once supported life.”

It’s part of the NASA-led Mars Science Laboratory mission to examine the rocks on the surface of Mars, as they could offer evidence of life on the Red Planet.

“Our goal is to place constraints on whether Mars was habitable,” Tutolo said. “And if Mars was habitable, then we can think about whether it actually did evolve life.”

The study will be using data collected by Curiosity as it was slowly climbing Mount Sharp 10 years ago to finally land in the centre of the Gale crater.

The rover has analyzed the chemistry and minerology of 1,211 samples of rocks and soil surfaces and sent 2,659 results back to Earth.

Tutolo and his team will do experiments in the laboratory to better understand and interpret the results. They will also conduct field research in British Colombia and run numerical models on a computer.

Study focuses on geological transition of rocks

The team will focus on examining the geological transition of rocks from the oldest layers of sediments to the younger layers “deposited in the crater and which formed Mount Sharp around 3½ billion years” ago.

Tutolo’s study suggests the oldest rocks in the crater are from a lake that is river-fed – “fluviolacustrine environment” –while the younger sediments contain extremely soluble salts – magnesium sulphate salts – such as Epsom salt that can be used for bathing. As these salts are extremely soluble, precipitating them requires all the water to be evaporated.

“We think that it must have been drier on Mars in order to precipitate those minerals. What we’re exploring is how that transition is recorded in the rocks,” Tutolo said.

The research is also taking advantage of the “rare-on-Earth” Basque Lakes near Cache Creek, B.C., that contain magnesium sulphate where the same sulphate minerals found on Mount Sharp on Mars are actively precipitating.

Tutolo is trying to answer this question: “Is there a point where it gets so salty that nothing could live there?”

Since Mars is red as a result of all the iron on its surface where its atmosphere doesn’t have similar levels of oxygen to Earth’s atmosphere, the team is using special tools in the lab to examine sensitive substances in the absence of oxygen, such as an anaerobic chamber that simulates conditions on Mars.

Mars’ geology helps understand Earth’s evolution

Understanding the geological transition on Mars will provide information on whether the planet’s environment would still be habitable in drier and colder environments and whether there’s a potential that life evolved and existed on Mars’ surface at that time. If life did evolve, what evidence can we get from the rocks?

“There was probably a period of time when Mars was getting warm and having water again, and going back and forth (from warmer to colder),” said Tutolo.

He explained that the Earth has experienced ice ages and greenhouse climates as a result of the slight variations in its movement through space, whereas Mars’ movement changes a bit more dramatically, making those cycles more enhanced.

Tutolo also adds that the geological history of early Mars helps understand the history of early Earth as there’s limited access to its geological record from that time.

The limited access to early Earth’s geology is attributed to “plate tectonics whereby, over the eons, the surface gets subsumed into the planet’s mantle as continent-sized slabs of rock collide.”

“But on Mars, all of those rocks have been there since they were deposited, some 3½ billion years or more ago,” Tutolo said. “So we can see those rocks on Mars and understand how life evolved on our planet, going from totally abiotic, or without life at all, to what it is today.”

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Blaxtair Inc. embedded pedestrian detection system – Canadian Occupational Safety

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Blaxtair is an embedded pedestrian detection system for industrial vehicles, designed to prevent collisions between vehicles and pedestrians in co-activity zones. It has a smart 3D camera able to distinguish a person from other obstacles in real time and alerts operators in case of danger, without unnecessary alarms.

Blaxtair can be equipped to any industrial vehicle, including but not limited to forklifts and wheel loaders, and is perfect for sites within any industry where co-activity between pedestrians and vehicles poses a safety threat (logistics, warehousing, recycling, mining, construction, etc.)

Blaxtair is made up of 3 main parts:

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Starburst galaxy shines in new 'whirlpool of gold' photo – Space.com

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The ESO’s Very Large Telescope captured this view of the starburst galaxy NGC 4303, with gas clouds of ionized oxygen, hydrogen and sulfur shown in blue, green and red, respectively.  (Image credit: ESO/PHANGS)

A mesmerizing new photo captures bright, golden swirling clouds of gas that generate an exceptionally high rate of star formation. 

This stellar nursery, a spiral galaxy known as NGC 4303 or Messier 61, is located 50 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Virgo. NGC 4303 is one of the largest galactic members of the Virgo Cluster — a large, nearby grouping of galaxies.

NGC 4303 is considered a starburst galaxy, where an unusually high amount of stars are born. In turn, studying this type of galaxy helps astronomers to better understand star formation across the universe, according to a statement from the European Southern Observatory (ESO).

Related: Amazing space views from ESO’s Very Large Telescope (photos)

“Stars form when clouds of cold gas collapse,” ESO officials wrote in the statement. “The energetic radiation from newly born stars will heat and ionize the surrounding remaining gas.” 

The photo, taken using the ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile, shows bright swirling clouds of the ionized gas, appearing as a “whirlpool of gold.” The swirling clouds are like cosmic breadcrumbs, tracing the path of new stars being born, according to the statement.  

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Astronomers using the Multi-Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) instrument on the VLT observed NGC 4303 at different wavelengths of light to create this “jewel-like” image. Combining their observations revealed a glowing golden whirlpool, speckled with gas clouds of ionized oxygen, hydrogen and sulfur shown in blue, green and red, respectively. 

The recent observations were collected as part of a project called the Physics at High Angular resolution in Nearby Galaxies (PHANGS), which aims to uncover nearby galaxies across all wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum, according to the statement. 

Follow Samantha Mathewson @Sam_Ashley13. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook. 

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