Connect with us


Canadian astronomers discover 2nd mysterious repeating fast radio burst




Out in the depths of space, there are radio signals that astronomers don’t understand. Now a Canadian research team has found a repeating signal, only the second of its kind to be discovered.

Fast radio bursts, or FRBs, are cosmic radio bursts that last only milliseconds. The source is from something with an extremely powerful magnetic field that produces a signal along the radio frequency band.

In a new paper published Wednesday in Nature, researchers reveal that a recently unveiled radio telescope in British Columbia — the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) — captured 13 more FRBs, but more importantly, it caught a second repeating FRB.

The first FRB, designated FRB 121102, was discovered in 2007 using telescope data from 2001. Since then, 36 have been found — 19 last year alone by researchers using an Australian radio telescope.

But exactly what is causing these powerful radio signals that are travelling from distant galaxies isn’t known. Many theories abound — even ones involving aliens — but some of the leading theories involve an object that is highly magnetized such as a star called a magnetar.

In 2015, McGill University PhD student Paul Scholz found that a previously detected FRB actually repeated. It left astronomers scratching their heads over an already bizarre cosmic puzzle.

The mystery deepens

“We certainly hoped that the CHIME telescope was going to be able to discover a lot of fast radio bursts,” said Ingrid Stairs, a member of the CHIME team and an astrophysicist at the University of British Columbia. “And we had the good luck to find 13 of these things in the pre-commissioning phase.”

The pre-commissioning phase meant that the telescope wasn’t running at its fullest capacity. In fact, it was only looking at one-quarter of the sky it is able to observe.

This visible-light image shows the host galaxy of the fast radio burst FRB 121102. (Gemini Observatory/AURA/NSF/NRC)

For Kendrick Smith, a cosmologist at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ont., who worked on the software making the detection, FRBs represent a unique challenge.

“FRBs were an unexpected mystery. There aren’t so many qualitative mysteries in astrophysics,” Smith said. “So explaining their nature has become one of the biggest unsolved problems in astrophysics in the last few years.” 

FRBs are similar to pulsars, small and rapidly rotating, dense stars that emit signals as they rotate, sort of like a cosmic lighthouse. However, these pulsars have been found in our galaxy. For FRBs to be detected from other galaxies means the signal has to be trillions of times brighter than a pulsar.

“That’s one followed by 12 zeros. That’s huge,” said Shriharsh Tendulka, an astronomer at McGill University and a member of the CHIME team. “We have no idea how to make something that bright.”

Repeating FRBs may be a rare finding, but they’re even stranger than their single counterparts. In regular FRBs, they emit a single spike. But in the two repeaters, astronomers found different spikes coming in at slightly different frequencies and times.

“We don’t see these kinds of structures from other fast radio bursts that are in a single burst,” said Tendulkar. “So that is exciting. It might point to a difference between their internal mechanisms.”

These 13 FRBs, which include the repeater, were detected on a much lower frequency than had been detected before. Most FRBs found are at frequencies near 1400 megahertz (MHz). But these were found in the band between 400 and 800 MHz.

“The CHIME frequency band sits in this gap where we didn’t know anything about, so that’s fantastic,” Tendulkar said. “It gives us a lot more information.”

More to come

Stairs credits the discoveries to an “amazing team” of post-doctoral researchers and is confident more findings are on the horizon.

“CHIME is looking at the whole northern sky every day so there’s plenty of possibilities to find more of these things,” she said. “The fact that we found a second one just like that in a way implies that there could be lots more out there.”

As for the mystery behind the FRBs — and especially the repeating ones — the Canadian team hopes that with CHIME now at full capacity, more of these repeaters will reveal themselves.

“CHIME is still in its early days and most of the exciting results are yet to come,” Smith said.


Source link

قالب وردپرس


The ‘Maple Majestic’ wants to be Canada’s homegrown Tesla




Look out Tesla, Canada has a homegrown electric sedan on the way. Well, that’s if AK International Motor Corporation can drum up enough investment to make its EV a reality. Dubbed the “Maple Majestic,” the vehicle is a battery-electric designed to “excel in extreme climate performance without adversely affecting the climate, as befits a vehicle from Canada,” according to its website.

What’s in a name? — The company says the maple leaf is a “symbol of Canada’s warmth and friendliness towards all cultures,” while “majestic” refers to the country’s “status as a Constitutional Monarchy.”

That patriotism carries over into Maple Majestic’s parent company’s lofty goals. AK Motor founder Arkadiusz Kaminski says he wants the company, which he founded in 2012, to become “Canada’s first multi-brand automotive OEM,” and that the “Maple Majestic is intended to be Canada’s flagship brand of automobiles on the world stage.”

Partnerships are key — “We acknowledge that the best chance for the Maple Majestic brand to succeed, lies in continuing to build the relationship with Canada’s parts suppliers and technological innovators, whether they be academic institutions, corporations, or individual inventors,” the company explains. “We are currently seeking partners in automotive engineering, parts manufacturing, automotive assembly, electric propulsion technology, battery technology, autonomous technology, and hybrid power generation technology.”

In other words, don’t expect to be able to buy a Maple Majestic any time soon… and don’t expect to pour over 0-60 mph times, power output, range, or other key stats, because those don’t currently exist. For now, all we have are pictures and a short video clip. But at least those are arresting.

Continue Reading


PE-backed Quorum Software to merge with Canadian energy tech firm




Houston-based energy technology company Quorum Software will merge with a Canadian tech firm to bolster its presence in oil and gas services.

Quorum announced Feb. 15 it plans to merge with Calgary, Alberta-based Aucerna, a global provider of planning, execution and reserves software for the energy sector. The combined firm will operate under the Quorum Software brand.

Gene Austin, CEO of Quorum Software, will continue in his capacity as chief executive of the combined firm. Austin, former CEO of Austin-based marketing tech firm Bazaarvoice Inc., became CEO of Quorum in December 2018.

Aucerna co-founder and CEO Wayne Sim will be appointed to the Quorum Software board of directors. Both companies are backed by San Francisco- and Chicago-based private equity firm Thoma Bravo.

“Over the last 20 years, Quorum has become the leading innovator of software deployed by North American energy companies,” said Austin. “Today, Quorum is expanding the scope of our technology and expertise to all energy-producing regions of the globe. Customers everywhere will have access to a cloud technology ecosystem that connects decision-ready data from operations to the boardroom.”

In addition to the merger announcement, Quorum Software announced it had entered into an agreement with Finnish IT firm TietoEvry to purchase TietoEvry’s entire oil and gas business. The agreement, which includes hydrocarbon management, personnel and material logistics software and related services, is valued at 155 million euros, or $188 million, according to a statement from TietoEvry.

“Our three organizations complement each other — from the software that our great people design to the energy markets where we operate,” said Sim. “Our new company will be able to deliver value to our stakeholders, while accelerating the growth of our combined business and the energy industry’s software transformation.”

The combined company will serve over 1,800 energy companies in 55 countries, according to the announcement. With its headquarters in Houston, Quorum will continue to have a significant presence in Calgary and in Norway, the headquarters for TietoEvry’s oil and gas software business. Quorum will have other offices throughout North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

As of Sept. 30, 2020, private equity firm Thoma Bravo had more than $73 billion in assets under management. In late December 2020, Thoma Bravo agreed to acquire Richardson, Texas-based tech firm RealPage in a roughly $10 billion acquisition.

Continue Reading


Piece of Kitchener technology lands on Mars on Perseverance rover




KITCHENER — A piece of Kitchener technology has landed on Mars, thanks to NASA’s Perseverance rover.

The rover settled on the planet’s surface on Thursday afternoon. It’s been travelling through space since it was launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla. in July.

“The whole idea of being on a device that we’re sending to another plant with the express mission of looking for traces of past life, it’s pretty mind boggling actually,” said Rafal Pawluczyk, chief technical officer for FiberTech Optica.

The Kitchener-based company made fibre optic cables for the rover’s SuperCam that will examine samples with a camera, laser and spectrometers.

“The cables that we built take the light from that multiplexer and deliver it to each spectrograph,” Pawluczyk said.

The cables connect a device on the rover to the SuperCam, which will be used to examine rock and soil samples, to spectrometers. They’ll relay information from one device to another.

The project started four years ago with a connection to Los Alamos National Lab, where the instruments connected to the cables were developed.

“We could actually demonstrate we can design something that will meet their really hard engineering requirements,” Pawluczyk said.

The Jezero Crater is where the Perseverance rover, with FiberTech Optica’s technology onboard, landed Thursday. Scientists believe it was once flooded with water and is the best bet for finding any evidence of life. FiberTech’s cables will help that in that search.

Ioannis Haranas, an astrophysicist and professor at Wilfrid Laurier University, said the rover isn’t looking for “green men.”

“They’re looking for microbial, single-cell life, any type of fossils and stuff like that,” Haranas said. “That’s why they chose a special landing site. This could be very fertile land for that.”

“It’s very ambitious,” said Ralf Gellert, a physics professor at the University of Guelph.

Gellert helped with previous rover missions and said it’s the first time a Mars rover has landed without a piece of Guelph technology on it. While he’s not part of Perseverance’s mission, he said the possibilities are exciting.

“Every new landing site is a new piece of the puzzle that you can put together with the new results that we have from the other landing sites,” he said.

“It’s scientifically very interesting because, even though we don’t have an instrument on that rover, we can compare what the new rover Perseverance finds at this new landing site,” he said.

Now that Perseverance has landed on Mars, FiberTech is looking ahead to its next possible mission into space.

Continue Reading