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Astronomy Colloquium

Wednesday, November 20, 2019
4:00pm to 5:00pm
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Cahill, Hameetman Auditorium
Physics of Enigmatic Fast Radio Bursts
Pawan Kumar, Professor, Department of Astronomy, University of Texas, Austin,

Fast radio bursts (FRBs) are millisecond duration transient events of unknown physical origin that were discovered at GHz radio frequency in 2007 (the data was collected by the Parkes telescope in 2001). It is now well established that many of these bursts are located at a distance of several billion lightyears. And therefore the energy release in the radio band in these events is quite large. Using very general arguments, I will show that the radio emission is coherent, the magnetic field strength associated with the source of these events should be 10^{14}Gauss or more, and the electric field is of order 10^{10} esu. I will describe my recent work that magnetic field distortions (Alfven waves) are responsible for the strong electric field and the coherent radiation produced in these enigmatic events. I will also address polarization properties of the well known repeater. Reasons for believing that these transients are associated with young magnetars will also be described.

For more information, please contact Judy McClain by phone at 626-395-4970 or by email at