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Welcome to the era of fast radio burst “cosmology”!

Fast radio bursts are frequent, bright millisecond bursts of radio emission that have fortunately turned out to not be from microwave ovens or alien light sails, but rather to be some new extragalactic phenomenon likely associated with neutron stars. Radio astronomers are beginning to localize these bursts to specific galaxies, opening up new extragalactic observables - the bursts' dispersion, scattering, and Faraday rotation. Dispersion in particular yields the intervening column of electrons, providing a unique tool to probe the 95% of the baryons that sit outside of galaxies (the vast majority of which are invisible using other observational methods). I will present the first ever applications of diffuse baryon science with these bursts, using data from the ASKAP telescope. Even with fewer than ten localized bursts, we are able to make interesting inferences about circumgalactic gas and the "missing baryons".

Speaker: Matt McQuinn, Washington State Univ.

Monday, 02/10/20


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Campbell Hall, Rm 131

UC Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720