Pulsars scintillate because their radio signals travel through space along multiple paths that interfere with each other. Researchers have used one of these scintillation-causing regions as an interstellar lens to localize the ‘black widow’ pulsar, B1957+20, near the phase in its 9.2-hour orbit at which its emission is eclipsed by its binary companion’s signal. During the lensing events, the observed radio flux was enhanced at specific frequencies, causing distinct frequency patterns similar to those observed for the repeating fast radio burst FRB 121102.

Original article published May 23, 2018

Corresponding Author: Robert Main, University of Toronto – main@astro.utoronto.ca