These radio waves were first detected using the Australian ASKAP radio telescope network of 36 satellites.
Other observations by the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory’s Meerkat telescope confirmed the presence of the signal, called “ASKAP J173608.2-321635” according to its coordinates.
These radio waves do not match any of our known patterns. It could belong to a new class of astral bodiesZiting Wang of the University of Sydney School of Physics said in a statement.
The strangest thing about this new signal is that it has a very strong polarization. This means that its light only swings in one directionWang explains.
The brightness of the object varies greatly, and the signal turns on and off seemingly at random. We’ve never seen anything like it.
Several types of objects emit changing light across the electromagnetic spectrum, such as pulsars, supernovae, falling stars, and fast radio bursts.
We initially thought it could be a pulsar – a type of very dense dead star – or a type of star that emits massive solar flares. But the signals from this new source do not match what we would expect from these types of celestial bodies.Mr. Wang said.
Scientists believe that the new object shares certain properties with other signals discovered in recent years, fast radio bursts. However, the two phenomena present some differences.
In the coming years, new, more accurate instruments will come into play and will allow for better monitoring of these things. This is particularly the case with the SKA Giant Radio Telescope in South Africa.
Details of this work are published inAstrophysical Journal (A new window) (in English).
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