Astronomy Colloquium for 2024-04-03

Series: Astronomy Colloquium
Date: Wednesday 03-Apr-2024
Time: 16:05-17:00 (4:05-5:00 pm)
Location: ATL 2400
Speaker: Dr. Aaron Pealman ( McGill Unuversity)
Title: Fast Radio Bursts: Illuminating their Origins in the Era of Wide-Field Radio Telescopes

Fast radio bursts (FRBs) are extremely energetic, millisecond-duration radio flashes that emanate from astrophysical objects located at cosmological distances. Although the high all-sky event rate (hundreds per sky per day) of FRBs suggest that they are produced by a common phenomenon in the Universe, their precise origins are currently unknown. The radio signals from FRBs encode valuable information about the intervening material through which they propagate, making them unique probes of the diffuse matter between stars and galaxies and the distribution of ionized baryons in the cosmic web. In this talk, I will give an overview of our current understanding of the enigmatic FRB phenomenon. I will discuss recent progress in the field using the wide- field digital transit radio telescope, Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME), which is being used as part of the CHIME/FRB project to detect hundreds of new FRBs each year. I will also describe the current status of the CHIME/FRB Outriggers project, which will expand upon CHIME/FRBís detection capabilities and enable thousands of FRBs to be pinpointed on the sky to 50 milliarcsecond precision using novel synoptic very long baseline interferometric (VLBI) techniques. I will also present new results from a simultaneous X-ray and radio observational campaign of the closest known extragalactic repeating FRB source, FRB 20200120E, which resides in a ~10 Gyr-old globular cluster within the M81 galactic system and is serving as a Rosetta Stone for understanding the nature of a possibly exotic FRB source.

In-person colloquia are usually preceded by espresso and ice cream at 1:45 pm outside room PSC 1150 and are followed by an informal reception at 5:15 pm in that room. Anyone interested in talking with the speaker, or being added to the colloquium announcement email list, should contact the colloquium organizer Dr. Leslie Sage. Lunch will normally be reserved for the speaker to talk to graduate students. Anyone asking a question during a talk is asked to raise their hand and be acknowledged before speaking. Contact Dr. Leslie Sage for details.

Colloquium Organizer: Dr. Leslie Sage


Special accommodations for individuals with disabilities can be made by calling (301) 405-3001. It would be appreciated if we are notified at least one week in advance.


Directions and information about parking can be found here.

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