Astronomers have discovered a strange object in space that emits signals. This has never happened before

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The International Center for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR), which maps the radio waves of the universe, has discovered something unusual in outer space. Some object or source emits a huge amount of energy at a frequency of three times per hour, and this is unlike anything else. The center’s team believes it could be a neutron star or a white dwarf with a super-powerful magnetic field.

The strange object emits radiation that crosses the line of sight of our planet and for about one minute out of every twenty becomes one of the brightest radio sources in the sky. Astrophysicist Natasha Hurley-Walker of Curtin University, who led the team that made the discovery, said the object appeared and disappeared over the course of several hours during the observations.

“It was completely unexpected and even a little creepy, because astronomers had never seen anything like it before … And it’s really very close – about 4000 light years from us. Like a backyard on a galaxy scale,” said Natasha Hurley-Walker.

The unknown object was discovered last year by Curtin University student Tyrone O’Doherty using the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) telescope in Western Australia. The periodic emission of energy by any sources is called a “transient process”. Astrophysicists studying transients often observe the death of a massive star or the activity of the remnants it leaves behind. Slow transients may appear within a few days and disappear after a few months. The fast ones flash on and off within a few milliseconds or seconds. However, it is very strange to observe something that has been regularly “flashing” for a minute for a long time.

The mysterious object is incredibly bright. It is smaller than the Sun, emits highly polarized radio waves, and can have an extremely strong magnetic field. Scientists suggest that this is the first super-long period magnetar – a type of slowly rotating neutron star, the existence of which was proposed by astrophysicists only in theory. Somehow, this object converts magnetic energy into radio waves much more efficiently than anything scientists have seen before.

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