Washington DC: A team of researchers have proposed a new way to chart the cosmos in 3-D.
If only calculating the distance between Earth and far-off galaxies was as easy as pulling out the old measuring tape. Now, UBC researchers are proposing a new way to calculate distances in the cosmos using mysterious bursts of energy.
In the study, researchers proposed a new way to calculate cosmological distances using the bursts of energy also known as fast radio bursts. The method allows researchers to position distant galaxies in three dimensions and map out the cosmos.
Researcher Kiyoshi Masui said that they've introduced the idea of using these new phenomena to study cosmological objects in the universe, adding that they believe they'll be able to use these flashes to put together a picture of how galaxies are spread through space.
Some unknown astrophysical phenomenon is causing these bursts of energy that appear as a short flash of radio waves. While only 10 fast radio bursts have ever been recorded, scientists believe there could be thousands of them a day.
As these fast radio bursts travel toward Earth, they spread out and arrive at different times based on their wavelengths. The researchers propose using the delay between the arrival times of different frequencies to map the cosmos. The amount of spread in the signal that arrives on Earth gives scientists a sense of how many electrons, and by extension how much material including stars, gas and dark matter, are in between Earth and the source of the burst.
Canada's CHIME (Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment) radio telescope could offer the first set of regular data from fast radio bursts.
This method could be an efficient way to build a three-dimensional image of the cosmos. The tool could also be used to map the distribution of material in the universe and inform our understanding of how it evolved.
The study appears in the journal Physical Review Letters.