Discovery Of A Mysterious Cosmic Object Emitting Powerful Radio Signals: “We Had Never Seen Anything Like It”

When we speak of an “unidentified space object”, our minds immediately drift towards science fiction and somewhat mysterious settings, on the border between reality and fantasy. However, beyond the extravagant theories, sometimes scientists come across objects that they cannot, at first glance, perfectly define or explain. This is what happened to the team of Australian astronomers we are going to tell you about.

The object of their amazement and study is a mysterious rotating object that emits extremely powerful radio pulses at regular intervals in the famous Milky Way. And what makes this celestial body even more fascinating is that, by the very admission of the experts, it does not resemble anything known to date. Ready to take a closer look?

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image credit: ICRAR.org

18 minutes and 10 seconds : This is the frequency at which the unidentified space object emits a very strong radio signal lasting approximately one minute . Three times per hour, this rotating body was therefore the source of one of the most powerful signals known. For this and many other reasons, it immediately caught the attention of the Australian astronomers who discovered it, a group of researchers from the International Center for Research in Radio Astronomy.

“It was completely unexpected,” said one, Natasha Hurley-Walker, “and also a bit concerning for us astronomers, because we know there is nothing known in the sky. who behaves like this”. It is no coincidence that the object was described as “spectral”, given its intermittent appearance and strong luminosity.

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image credit: ICRAR.org

Smaller than the Sun and relatively “nearby”, it is located in our “galactic backyard”, some 4,000 light-years from Earth . A distance, however, sufficient to understand its magnitude. A signal that appears and disappears like its own, according to Dr. Hurley-Walker, is a clear sign of a star at the end of its life cycle .

However, none of them had ever exhibited such intense characteristics before. Scientists are therefore inclined to think that it is a new type of magnetar , that is to say a “type of neutron star which rotates very slowly, transforming magnetic energy into radio waves of much more efficiently than other similar stars observed so far”.

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image credit: ICRAR.org

It is therefore a very interesting discovery, as it could be the first of a longer series devoted to cosmic objects like this, which may not be alone in the depths of space. “Further investigations will tell us if this was a rare event or part of a large star cluster that we haven’t noticed before.”

Whatever the origin and nature of this object, it is certainly fascinating, don’t you think?

source used: International Center for Astronomy Research

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