Possible periodic activity in the repeating FRB 121102

Kaustubh Rajwade, Mitchell Mickaliger, Benjamin Stappers, Vincent Morello, Devansh Agarwal, Cees Bassa, Rene Breton, Manisha Caleb, Aris Karastergiou, Evan Keane, Duncan Lorimer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The discovery that at least some Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) repeat has ruled out cataclysmic events as the progenitors of these particular bursts. FRB 121102 is the most well-studied repeating FRB but despite extensive monitoring of the source, no underlying pattern in the repetition has previously been identified. Here, we present the results from a radio monitoring campaign of FRB 121102 using the 76 m Lovell telescope. Using the pulses detected in the Lovell data along with pulses from the literature, we report a detection of periodic behaviour of the source over the span of 5 yr of data. We predict that the source is currently ‘off’ and that it should turn ‘on’ for the approximate MJD range 59002−59089 (2020 June 2 to 2020 August 28). This result, along with the recent detection of periodicity from another repeating FRB, highlights the need for long-term monitoring of repeating FRBs at a high cadence. Using simulations, we show that one needs at least 100 h of telescope time to follow-up repeating FRBs at a cadence of 0.5–3 d to detect periodicities in the range of 10–150 d. If the period is real, it shows that repeating FRBs can have a large range in their activity periods that might be difficult to reconcile with neutron star precession models.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3551-3558
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2020


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