Institute of Astronomy

The repeating fast radio burst FRB 121102: a long time ago in a galaxy far-far away

SpeakerTalk DateTalk Series
Jason Hessels (Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy and University of Amsterdam)19 January 2017Institute of Astronomy Colloquia

Abstract

Fast radio bursts (FRBs) are millisecond-duration radio flashes, whose large dispersion measures suggest that they originate at extragalactic
distances in extremely energetic environments. Using the 305-m Arecibo telescope, we have discovered that FRB 121102 sporadically produces repeat bursts. This immediately rules out the various cataclysmic models - at least for this particular FRB - and has
enabled deep, multi-wavelength follow-up observations. In these follow-up observations we have localized the source to sub-arcsecond
precision and have unambiguously identified its host: a dwarf galaxy at z = 0.19. We have also associated FRB 121102 with a compact, persistent radio source apparently offset from the host galaxy's optical center of light. I will present our latest understanding of FRB 121102 and its relevance for interpreting the FRB phenomenon in
general.

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