The discovery is a sign that there could be even more repeating FRBs out there waiting to be found - and maybe even an answer to the mystery of their source.
The findings were presented during a meeting held by the American Astronomical Society in Seattle, Wash., on Thursday. They don't know whether the bursts are like flashbulbs, lighting up the sky in every direction, or focused beams, which would require less energy but must be more frequent for Earth to see so many of them.
Work on the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME), which Tendulkar and his colleagues used for their research, was not quite complete when this initial baker's dozen was detected last July and August.
Astronomers have spotted a second repeating fast radio burst, and it looks a lot like the first. A repeating FRB, however, provides more opportunities for scientists to learn about these radio bursts and where they come from. And the existence of a second repeater means 2012's was not a fluke or an instrument error - something is producing these repeating bursts of light, and it's clearly fixed in place over long periods of time.
One of the FRBs they discovered was repeating, like the one previously found by accident in 2001. Scientists believe FRBs emanate from powerful astrophysical phenomena billions of light years away, but they have yet to determine their origin.
A number of speculations have been made about what could be causing the radio bursts - with theories ranging from stars exploding to alien life, however, currently, there is little evidence to prove either.
The low frequency of this new detection could mean that the source of the bursts differ. Launched in 2017, the project is a collaboration of Canadian scientists from the University of British Columbia, McGill University, the University of Toronto, the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, and the National Research Council of Canada.
"By understanding these propagation effects and being able to separate them from the intrinsic characteristics of FRBs, we hope to be able to use FRBs as probes of the electron distribution and magnetic field distribution in the Universe which would tell us about how the Universe built up structures, such as galaxies, galaxy clusters, and so on", explained Tendulkar. In some of the 13 cases, the signal at the lower end of the band was so bright that it seems likely other FRBs will be detected at frequencies even lower than CHIME's minimum of 400 megahertz. "We haven't solved the problem, but it's several more pieces in the puzzle". "We would also like to study the properties of whole populations of FRBs and try to see if there are different sources that give rise to repeaters and non-repeaters".