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Monday 14/12/2020 @ 15:30, On-line -

Daniele Michilli (McGill University)), "Fast radio bursts: What they are, why we care"

Fast radio bursts are enigmatic radio signals of millisecond duration coming from other galaxies. The source distances imply huge luminosities and prevented us from having a clear idea of their origin. New instruments designed to detect fast radio bursts, such as CHIME/FRB, have made outstanding discoveries in the last months that advanced our understanding of these mysterious sources. Among them, particularly interesting are an exceptionally bright signal from a galactic magnetar and a periodicity in the activity of a repeating fast radio burst source. Independently on their origin, however, fast radio bursts can be used as cosmological probes by measuring the effects caused by free electrons along the line of sight on their signal. Precise localization is needed to pursue this goal and telescopes such as ASKAP are providing groundbreaking results, for example measuring the baryon content of the low-redshift intergalactic medium. Facilities under construction, such as CHIME/Outriggers, promise to revolutionize the field in the upcoming years and provide us with a new tool to study the evolution of the Universe.