A group of astronomers have detected unusual radio signals that come toward the center of the Milky Way and do not correspond to any known radio source pattern, according to An article published this Tuesday (10.12.2021) in the Astrophysical Journal.
“We’ve never seen anything like this before. The strangest property of this new signal is that it has very high polarization,” said Ziteng Wang, lead author of the paper and a student at the University of Sydney’s School of Physics in Sydney. Australia.
This means, according to the article, that its light “oscillates only in one direction but that direction rotates with time” and that “the brightness of the object also varies greatly, by a factor of 100, and the signal turns on and off when it appears random”.
A new class of objects in space?
The technical name of the waves is ASKAP J173608.2-321635, and the signal was detected six times between January and September 2020 and then reappeared on February 7 this year.
“ASKAP J173608.2-321635 may represent part of a new class of objects being discovered through wireless imaging studies,” Wang added.
What could produce this phenomenon?
The center of the galaxy’s rotation is home to a large black hole at its center, and in the region are massive, dense clusters of stars including red giants, supergiants, extremely hot gases, and abundant sources of radio signals.
Many types of stars emit changing lights across the entire range of the electromagnetic spectrum, and with advances in radio astronomy, the study of changing or transiting objects is a broad field of study of the universe.
“We initially thought it could be a pulsar – a very dense type of dead star – or also a type of star that emits huge solar flares,” Wang said.
The international team, to which Wang is affiliated, includes scientists from Australia, Spain, Germany, the United States, Canada, South Africa and France, and discovered the object using a radio telescope called the Australian Square Kilometer Array Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), located in eastern Australia.
JU (efe, sciencealert.com, sydney.edu.au, iopscience.iop.org)
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