Title

Probing the Intergalactic Turbulence with Fast Radio Bursts

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

7-31-2020

Publication Title

The Astrophysical Journal Letters

Volume

898

Issue

2

First page number:

1

Last page number:

7

Abstract

The turbulence in the diffuse intergalactic medium (IGM) plays an important role in various astrophysical processes across cosmic time, but it is very challenging to constrain its statistical properties both observationally and numerically. Via the statistical analysis of turbulence along different sight lines toward a population of fast radio bursts (FRBs), we demonstrate that FRBs provide a unique tool to probe the intergalactic turbulence. We measure the structure function (SF) of dispersion measures (DMs) of FRBs to study the multiscale electron density fluctuations induced by the intergalactic turbulence. The SF has a large amplitude and a Kolmogorov power-law scaling with angular separations, showing large and correlated DM fluctuations over a range of length scales. Given that the DMs of FRBs are IGM dominated, our result tentatively suggests that the intergalactic turbulence has a Kolmogorov power spectrum and an outer scale on the order of 100 Mpc.

Keywords

Radio Transient Sources; Intergalactic Medium; Hydrodynamics

Disciplines

Astrophysics and Astronomy | Physical Sciences and Mathematics

Language

English

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