Famous Radio Burst Is Awake On Its 157-Days Cycle

It wasn't for certain that the cycle could continue, but FRB 121102 surprised the observers.
Deniz Yildiran

One of the stunning mysteries of Space, as gripping as blackholes, Fast Radio Bursts are once again in contact with us. The famous signal revived recently, called FRB 121102, was first caught by the world's largest single radio telescopeAperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST) in China back in 2012. 

There have been a bunch of repeating bursts recorded so far, however, FRB 121102 is one special signal recorded with a correctly estimated circle.


157 days per cycle

We already know that it is not the first time FRB 121102 has been caught. However, it has been only discovered that the burst is repeatedly reaching the Earth and beyond. It has a repetition cycle, consisting of 157 days in total. 

For the first 67 days of the cycle, the burst or the source doesn't make a sound. However, it starts repeating itself for the next 90 days and sends radio flares milliseconds long. 

Back to activation

Recently, FRB 121102 has flared up again. This means that the cycle is carried on and the burst did not let the observers down while they were getting their hopes up. A team led by Pei Wang from the National Astronomy Observatory of China have used FAST again to observe FRB 121102's location between the period of March and August 2020.  

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Reportedly, FRB 121102 didn't show any sign of flaring between mid-March and late July. However, recently on August 17, FAST received at least 12 bursts of it. 

"We combine the bursts collected in Rajwade et al. (2020) and Cruces et al. (2020) with these newly detected by FAST in 2019 and 2020, and obtain a new best-fit period of ~156.1 days," they explained in a statement published on The Astronomer's Telegram.

The cycle is expected to end between August 31 and September 9, 2020. However, if FRB 121102 shows any sign after the estimated period, it will possibly mean that either the period is not real or evolved into another cycle or a certain time. 

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