The discovery of a repeating fast radio burst (FRB) source1,2, FRB 121102, eliminated models involving cataclysmic events for this source. No other repeating FRB has hitherto been detected despite many recent discoveries and follow-ups3,4,5, suggesting that repeaters may be rare in the FRB population. Here we report the detection of six repeat bursts from FRB 180814.J0422+73, one of the 13 FRBs detected6 by the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) FRB project7 during its pre-commissioning phase in July and August 2018. These repeat bursts are consistent with its origin from a single position on the sky, with the same dispersion measure, about 189 parsecs per cubic centimetre. This line of sight traces approximately twice the expected Milky Way column density of free electrons, which implies an upper limit on the source redshift of 0.1, showing it to be closer to Earth by a factor of at least 2 than FRB 1211028. In some of the repeat bursts, we observe subpulse frequency structure, drifting and spectral variation reminiscent of that seen in FRB 1211029,10, suggesting similar emission mechanisms or propagation effects. This second repeater, found among the first few CHIME/FRB discoveries, suggests that there exists—and that CHIME/FRB and other wide-field, sensitive radio telescopes will find—a substantial population of repeating FRBs.
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The data used in this publication are available at https://chime-frb-open-data.github.io/.
Publisher’s note: Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
We are grateful for the warm reception and skilful help we have received from the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory, operated by the National Research Council Canada. The CHIME/FRB Project is funded by a grant from the Canada Foundation for Innovation 2015 Innovation Fund (Project 33213), as well as by the Provinces of British Columbia and Québec, and by the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Toronto. Additional support was provided by the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR), McGill University and the McGill Space Institute via the Trottier Family Foundation, and the University of British Columbia. The Dunlap Institute is funded by an endowment established by the David Dunlap family and the University of Toronto. Research at Perimeter Institute is supported by the Government of Canada through Industry Canada and by the Province of Ontario through the Ministry of Research & Innovation. The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc. P.C. is supported by an FRQNT Doctoral Research Award and a Mitacs Globalink Graduate Fellowship. M.D. acknowledges support from CIFAR, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Discovery and Accelerator Grants, and from FRQNT Centre de Recherche en Astrophysique du Québec (CRAQ). B.M.G. acknowledges the support of the NSERC through grant RGPIN-2015-05948, and the Canada Research Chairs programme. A.S.H. is partly supported by the Dunlap Institute. V.M.K. holds the Lorne Trottier Chair in Astrophysics & Cosmology and a Canada Research Chair and receives support from an NSERC Discovery Grant and Herzberg Award, from an R. Howard Webster Foundation Fellowship from CIFAR, and CRAQ. C.M. is supported by a NSERC Undergraduate Research Award. J.M.-P. is supported by the MIT Kavli Fellowship in Astrophysics and a FRQNT postdoctoral research scholarship. M.M. is supported by a NSERC Canada Graduate Scholarship. Z.P. is supported by a Schulich Graduate Fellowship. S.M.R. is a CIFAR Senior Fellow and is supported by the NSF Physics Frontiers Center award 1430284. P.S. is supported by a DRAO Covington Fellowship from the National Research Council Canada. FRB research at UBC is supported by an NSERC Discovery Grant and by CIFAR.
Nature thanks G. Hallinan and the other anonymous reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.
The authors declare no competing interests.