The CHIME Fast Radio Burst Population Does Not Track the Star Formation History of the Universe

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Astrophysical Journal Letters






The redshift distribution of fast radio bursts (FRBs) is not well constrained. The association of the Galactic FRB 200428 with the young magnetar SGR 1935+2154 raises the working hypothesis that FRB sources track the star formation history of the universe. The discovery of FRB 20200120E in association with a globular cluster in the nearby galaxy M81, however, casts doubts on such an assumption. We apply the Monte Carlo method developed in a previous work to test different FRB redshift distribution models against the recently released first CHIME FRB catalog in terms of their distributions in specific fluence, external dispersion measure (DME), and inferred isotropic energy. Our results clearly rule out the hypothesis that all FRBs track the star formation history of the universe. The hypothesis that all FRBs track the accumulated stars throughout history describes the data better but still cannot meet both the DME and the energy criteria. The data seem to be better modeled with either a redshift distribution model invoking a significant delay with respect to star formation or a hybrid model invoking both a dominant delayed population and a subdominant star formation population. We discuss the implications of this finding for FRB source models.

Controlled Subject

Solar radio bursts; Stars--Formation


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