Magnetic field reversal in the turbulent environment around a repeating fast radio burst

Reshma Anna-Thomas, Liam Connor, Shi Dai, Yi Feng, Sarah Burke-Spolaor, Paz Beniamini, Yuan Pei Yang, Yong Kun Zhang, Kshitij Aggarwal, Casey J. Law, Di Li, Chenhui Niu, Shami Chatterjee, Marilyn Cruces, Ran Duan, Miroslav D. Filipovic, George Hobbs, Ryan S. Lynch, Chenchen Miao, Jiarui NiuStella K. Ocker, Chao Wei Tsai, Pei Wang, Mengyao Xue, Ju Mei Yao, Wenfei Yu, Bing Zhang, Lei Zhang, Shiqiang Zhu, Weiwei Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fast radio bursts (FRBs) are brief, intense flashes of radio waves from unidentified extragalactic sources. Polarized FRBs originate in highly magnetized environments. We report observations of the repeating FRB 20190520B spanning 17 months, which show that the FRB’s Faraday rotation is highly variable and twice changes sign. The FRB also depolarizes below radio frequencies of about 1 to 3 gigahertz. We interpret these properties as being due to changes in the parallel component of the magnetic field integrated along the line of sight, including reversing direction of the field. This could result from propagation through a turbulent magnetized screen of plasma, located 10–5 to 100 parsecs from the FRB source. This is consistent with the bursts passing through the stellar wind of a binary companion of the FRB source.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)599-603
Number of pages5
Issue number6645
StatePublished - 12 May 2023

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