QUO Fast Radio Bursts

E02: Crab Pulsar ft. Akanksha

October 14, 2020 Queen's Observatory Season 1 Episode 3
QUO Fast Radio Bursts
E02: Crab Pulsar ft. Akanksha
Show Notes


  • The Algonquin Radio Observatory (ARO) is located in Algonquin Park and has been operating since the 1960s.
  • Pulsars are a type of Neutron star that act like cosmic lighthouses, with spinning beams of radio waves.
  • The Crab Nebula has a pulsar at its center which rotates very quickly and is connected with a supernova that could be seen from Earth in the year 1054.

Giant Pulses:

  • Sometimes a pulse from a pulsar is far brighter than normal, we call these giant pulses.
  • The reason that these happen is not entirely understood
  • These pulses often have interesting structure and can teach us about what is happening on and around the pulsar.

Akanksha's Work:

  • Observing the Crab Pulsar with the ARO, Akanksha found over 100,000 radio signal events and sorted down to a few interesting pulses.
  • She noticed one pulse behave like none she had ever seen before.
  • She developed a model to explain the unusual pulse. Perhaps some radio waves bounce off material in the Crab Nebula.
  • This new model is able to account for the observations and predict a new type of pulse that may be seen in the future.
  • We eagerly wait for more observations that may prove, disprove, or refine her theories!

Links to Science Outreach Material:

Special thanks to Colin Vendromin for the music also thanks to Zac Kenny for the logo!