Scientists don’t find a link between fast radio bursts and gravitational waves

Scientists have tried to link two mysterious short-term phenomena — gravitational waves arising from the merger of black holes and neutron stars and fast radio bursts. However, no evidence has been found that they are caused by the same events.

Fast radio bursts can be accompanied by gravitational waves. Source:

Mysterious fast radio bursts

The Astrophysical Journal published a study in which scientists tried to link two mysterious space phenomena: fast radio bursts and gravitational waves. They did this by conducting a long-term study of the sky with the help of a whole network of astronomical instruments.

Fast radio bursts are a phenomenon in which powerful radiation occurs within a certain range of waves for several tens of seconds and then disappears. Some radio bursts are never repeated, some occur again. The reasons for them are not fully established because it is very difficult to accurately identify them with a certain space object due to their short duration.

In general, there are almost 50 theories about what causes fast radio bursts. However, the dominant assumption is that they can be generated by neutron stars under certain circumstances. Recent pulsar studies have confirmed this assumption for at least a few individual cases. 

However, it is possible that events on single neutron stars are responsible only for a part of the fast radio bursts. Others may be caused by the collision of these objects with other pulsars or black holes. It is this assumption that scientists have tried to test.

No link found

The merging of neutron stars is an event that we have never seen with conventional telescopes. But it generates a huge number of gravitational waves, which people learned to register almost 10 years ago. 

Therefore, the Canadian radio telescope CHIME and the gravitational wave detectors LIGO in the USA and Virgo in Italy took part in the new study. Scientists were interested in fast radio bursts that did not repeat. Immediately after the registration of such an event, gravitational waves and unusual electromagnetic radiation began to be searched in its area.

However, as a result of the search, scientists have not found anything worth attention. This did not come as a surprise to them because they knew that there were much faster radio bursts than the events recorded by gravitational wave detectors. This means that neutron star mergers simply cannot be responsible for all such flares.

This does not mean that this assumption is completely wrong, because the absence of evidence is not proof of the absence of a phenomenon. However, at least one of the mergers happened close enough for us to see a fast radio pulse from it, but the telescopes did not see anything.

According to

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