29th January 2022 – A team of Astronomers in Australia have detected an unusual object that emits periodic radio signals.
The space object, the team says, sends out radio signals at a regular interval three times an hour, and that the radio signal is being transmitted for about a minute each time. This behaviour has spooked the team, as this kind of observation is something that has never been observed before.
“This object was appearing and disappearing over a few hours during our observations. That was completely unexpected. It was kind of spooky for an astronomer because there’s nothing known in the sky that does that,” said Dr. Natasha Hurley Walker, an astrophysicist with the team.
This object was found by Tyrone O’Doherty, an honours student from Curtin University. The student discovered it when using the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) telescope with a new technique he had developed.
Dr Hurley-Walker said “the observations matched a predicted astrophysical object called an ‘ultra-long period magnetar’, but was far “brighter” than expected.”
It’s a type of slowly spinning neutron star that has been predicted to exist theoretically. But nobody expected to directly detect one like this because we didn’t expect them to be so bright. Somehow it’s converting magnetic energy to radio waves much more effectively than anything we’ve seen before,” she added in a press statement.
The findings were published in the “Nature” Journal.
Space objects which releases energy periodically is not new. Scientists call them “transients”. These transients are usually the death of a star or the activity of the remanants of a dead star. However, what was observed from this particular object is not synonymous to the activity of transients.
What do you think the object could be? A new space object unknown to human kind, or could it be a sign of life? Comment your views.
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