Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs)

Full details and parameters for all currently known FRBs can be found in the Swinburne FRB Catalogue.

F&M was involved in the discovery and analysis of the first of these bursts reported, FRB 010724 (the Lorimer Burst), which was found in a Parkes survey of the Small Magellanic Cloud. F&M was also part of the discovery (and redetection) team for FRB 121102, the only FRB discovered to date with the Arecibo telescope and the only one observed to repeat its burst emission. See below for more details on these FRBs.

FRB 010724 (the Lorimer Burst)

For scientific details about FRB 010724 (the Lorimer Burst), please consult "A Bright Millisecond Radio Burst of Extragalactic Origin" by D. R. Lorimer et al., Science, 318, 777 (2007).

For a layman's explanation, you can read the media report of the discovery in Strong Extragalactic Radio Burst Poses a Mystery at NPR's All Things Considered web site (the radio broadcast of the report is also there, and you can listen to that).

FRB 121102 (the Arecibo Burst)

For details about the first FRB discovered with Arecibo, FRB 121102, see "Fast Radio Burst Discovered in the Arecibo Pulsar ALFA Survey" by L. G. Spitler et al., Astrophysical Journal, 790, 101 (2014)

The followup detection of multiple bursts from the same source was published in "A Repeating Fast Radio Burst" by L. G. Spitler et al., Nature, 531, 202 (2016). On that page there is also a nice audio interview with several researchers about this finding and other recent FRB science.

You can read news coverage of this redetection in several media outlets, including National Geographic, Scientific American, The Washington Post, USA Today, Sky and Telescope, Popular Science, The Christian Science Monitor, and Franklin and Marshall College News.

Single pulse plots from VLA phased-beam follow-up observations of the Arecibo FRB field are here:

Plots and Figures

Below: A plot of the arrival of the (dispersed) Lorimer burst, with frequency vs. time shown (inset is the burst after dedispersion):


Below: The Lorimer burst after dedispersion and channel summing has been applied, shown as a function of time (see also the inset of the previous image):


Below: Image of the SMC with the location of the Lorimer burst indicated (note that we also have a larger image with a white background):


Below: A plot of Arecibo burst FRB 121102. The burst arrival is shown with frequency vs. time plotted (the inset is a plot of the burst after dedispersion).