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The CHIME Fast Radio Burst Project

Presentation #438.01 in the session Lancelot M. Berkeley Prize Lecture.

Published onJun 29, 2022
The CHIME Fast Radio Burst Project

Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) are presently an interesting astrophysical mystery. Consisting of few-millisecond-long bursts of radio waves coming from far outside the Galaxy, and with an all-sky rate of approximately 1000 per day above current sensitivities, FRBs are ubiquitous in the Universe, yet their nature remains unknown. The Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) Fast Radio Burst project (CHIME/FRB), commissioned in 2017, utilizes the novel cylindrical design of the CHIME telescope, coupled to a powerful correlator, to scan the full Northern sky daily for FRBs. Its large 200-square-degree field of view and high sensitivity have allowed CHIME to detect many hundreds of FRBs, revolutionizing the field. CHIME/FRB recently released a catalog that nearly quintupled the number of reported events. Among its many other major achievements is the detection of many repeating sources, as well as a luminous millisecond radio burst from a Galactic magnetar. The latter signals that at least some FRBs are almost certainly magnetars, although the fraction is unlikely to be unity and may even be small. We describe CHIME and its major achievements thus far, and review the evidence for FRBs as magnetars.

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