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Astronomers Detect Bizarre Radio Signals Coming From One Spot In Space

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Astronomers Detect Bizarre Radio Signals Coming From One Spot In Space

Astronomers have picked up a bizarre set of radio signals coming from the centre of our Milky Way.

Researchers are particularly baffled by this set of signals because they don't match any known astrophysical radio source.

Ziteng Wang from the University of Sydney has been monitoring this bizarre pattern and has published his findings in The Astrophysical Journal.

He said it could be coming from a new type of celestial body.

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"At first we thought it could be a pulsar, a very dense and rapidly rotating remnant star core. A star with huge eruptions was also discussed...The signals from this new source do not match anything we expect from known stellar objects," he said.

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

They first picked up the signals while scanning the sky with the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio telescope in outback Western Australia.

Professor Tara Murphy, co-author of the study, explained how the signals are inconsistent in terms of when they get detected.

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"Sometimes it seems to stay on, detectable for days or weeks at a time, and then other times it can come on and off in a single day, which is extremely fast for an astronomical object," Prof Murphy said.

Not only are the signals strange, but it appears the object emitting them is very unique.

According to Science News, the celestial body was nearly invisible when it was first detected, before becoming lighter, then weakened, then reappeared.

This fluctuating appearance happened at least six times over nine months last year.

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Scientists used other types of telescopes to see if they could measure it on the visible light spectrum but came up with nothing.

"This object was so bright that if it was a star, we should be able to see it in visible light," Professor Murphy said. "But...we didn't see it at all, it was completely invisible.

"So then we've got this situation where we've ruled out the two most likely explanations."

The other reason why they think it's some sort of new celestial body is that the signals are 'aligned in one direction that rotates'.

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Prof Murphy said: "That rules out almost all astronomical objects we know of."

Featured Image Credit: University of Sydney

Topics: News, space, Australia

Stewart Perrie
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