Milky Way: A mysterious radio signal emanating from its center has been detected

Since 2020, astronomers have been detecting an intermittent signal that comes from the center of our Galaxy. Its characteristics are extraordinary. They do not correspond to anything known until now.

The signal was discovered by a team of scientists around the world, using a telescope located in Western Australia owned by the Australian Government’s Scientific Research Agency. Scientists thought it could be a pulsar – “a very dense type of spinning dead star – or a type of star that emits huge solar flares.” However, the signals from the new source do not match those expected for these types of celestial objects. Nor to any currently understood variable radio source model. This could therefore suggest a new class of stellar objects.

The center of the Milky Way - Credits: Luminas Art / Pixabay
The center of the Milky Way – Credits: Luminas Art / Pixabay

« The strangest property of this new signal is that it has a very strong polarization. This means that its light oscillates in only one direction, but that direction rotates over time, ”said Ziteng Wang, lead author of the study and a doctoral student at the School of Physics at the University of Sydney. He adds that “The brightness of the object also varies considerably, by a factor of 100, and the signal turns on and off seemingly randomly. We have never seen anything like it ”.

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The signal has extraordinary behavior

The uniqueness of the radio signal – nicknamed ASKAP J173608.2-321635 after its coordinates – was thathe “started invisible, then he became shiny and passed out before reappearing again “Which is” extraordinary behavior, “said Tara Murphy, thesis supervisor and professor at the University of Sydney.

Astronomers have tried to find the object in visual light, but without success. Murphy said more powerful telescopes, such as the Square Kilometer Array, could help solve the mystery. An international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope is already underway. It is expected to be completed within the next decade. It is eagerly awaited, because these signal detections also allow the discovery of exoplanets.

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