Institute of Astronomy

Fast Radio Bursts

SpeakerTalk DateTalk Series
Ben Stappers (Manchester)3 May 2018Institute of Astronomy Colloquia


In 2007 a very bright burst of radio
emission which lasted just a few milliseconds was discovered which
originated far outside
of our own galaxy. The extreme brightness and the very short duration
indicate that the source must be highly energetic and mostly likely
with a black hole or neutron star. Another possibility is that they are
caused by some cataclysmic event, like the collapse of a neutron star to
form a black hole or the merger of two neutron stars. As these bursts
are occurring at extragalactic distances they are potentially great probes
of the material and space between us and their origin. There are now
more than 50 of these bursts known and the race is on to find many more
with new and existing telescopes around the world. I will discuss some of
the history of FRBs, our current understanding, and look forward to the
This will include a discussion of MeerTRAP the commensal program to search
and precisely localise FRBs with the MeerKAT telescope.


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