These strange radio waves are coming from the middle of the Milky Way galaxy ... and scientists don’t know what they’re coming from
Could space experts be close to discovering a new stellar object?
Space researchers have discovered strange radio waves from the middle of the Milky Way , a signal that they’ve never heard before.
- The researchers detailed their findings in a new study recently published in The Astrophysical Journal.
According to researchers, the radio waves may be coming from an energy signal, which suggests there might be an unknown stellar object at the heart of the Milky Way.
The object’s brightness continues to change. And the radio signal continues to turn on and off at random, according to Ziteng Wang, lead author of the new study and a doctoral student in the School of Physics at The University of Sydney,
- “The strangest property of this new signal is that it has a very high polarisation. This means its light oscillates in only one direction, but that direction rotates with time,” he said in a news release on the study.
In fact, Wang said the team thought the object might have been a pulsar — a very dense dead star — but “the signals from this new source don’t match what we expect from these types of celestial objects,” he said in a news release.
Tara Murphy, a study co-author and a professor at the Sydney Institute for Astronomy and the School of Physics at The University of Sydney, said that the object — named ASKAP J173608.2-321635 — kept disappearing on them, according to CNN.
- “This object was unique in that it started out invisible, became bright, faded away and then reappeared. This behaviour was extraordinary,” Murphy said.
The researchers would observe the object using the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder radio telescope (ASKAP). At one point, they’d only see it for 15 minutes every few weeks since it was difficult to always find, according to CNN.
- “Luckily, the signal returned, but we found that the behaviour of the source was dramatically different — the source disappeared in a single day, even though it had lasted for weeks in our previous ASKAP observations,” Murphy said.
Unknown radio signals have shown up in our galaxy before. According to Space.com, there was an intense pulse of radio waves back in April 2020 that came through to our galaxy. Experts said that the radio signals were the first time a fast radio burst (FRB) had reached so close to Earth, too.