Scientists say the mysterious radio waves come from the center of the Milky Way

Scientists say the mysterious radio waves come from the center of the Milky Way
Scientists say the mysterious radio waves come from the center of the Milky Way

An international team of astronomers has discovered “extraordinary signals” from the heart of the Milky Way and suggested that their source is a “new class of stellar objects”.

Objects in the universe such as planets, comets, huge gas clouds and stars have changing magnetic fields and their production Radio waves It can be seen on Earth by the arrays of large radio telescopes scattered across the planet.

But a new study was in this week. released Astrophysikalisches Journal Radio wave detection details that appear to be different from anything experts have studied before.

At first we thought it might be a pulsar – a very dense type of rotating dead star – or some other type of star that emits massive solar flares. The signals from this new source are inconsistent with what we expect from such celestial bodies, said Ziteng Wang, lead author of the study and a PhD student at the University of Sydney’s School of Physics. in the current situation.

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The strangest feature of this new signal is its very high polarization. That means that its light only vibrates in one direction, but that direction rotates over time, ”said Wang.

The brightness of the object also varies greatly, by a factor of 100, and the signal appears to switch on and off at random. “We have never seen anything like it,” he added.

The radio waves were observed with the ASKAP radio telescope in the Western Australian desert, with follow-up observations from the Meerkat telescope of the Radio Astronomy Observatory in South Africa.

The signals from the object, which is called ASKAP J173608.2-321635 because of its coordinates, were received six times within nine months last year. The researchers said they tried to find the object in visible light but were unsuccessful.

Astronomers say they plan to keep examining the object for clues as to what it might be, and they hope that more advanced telescopes, due to launch online in the years to come, will help solve the mystery.

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