A group of astronomers detected unusual radio signals that come in the direction of the center of the Milky Way and do not correspond to any known pattern of radio sources, according to an article published this Tuesday (12.10.2021) by the specialized magazine Astrophysical Journal.

“We have never seen anything like this. The strangest property of this new signal is that it has a very high polarization,” said Ziteng Wang, lead author of the paper and a student at the School of Physics at the University of Sydney in Australia.

This means, according to the article, that its light oscillates “only in one direction but that direction rotates over time” and that “the brightness of the object also varies substantially, by a factor of 100, and the signal turns on and off when seem random, “the post added.

A new class of objects in space?

The technical name given to 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 of this year.

“ASKAP J173608.2-321635 may represent part of a new class of objects that are being discovered through radio imaging studies,” Wang added.

What could produce this phenomenon?

The galaxy’s center of rotation is home to a large black hole at its center, and in the region are huge dense clusters of stars including red giants, super giants, extremely hot gases, and abundant sources of radio signals.

Many types of stars emit variable lights across the entire range of the electromagnetic spectrum, and with advances in radio astronomy the study of variable or transient objects is a vast field for the study of the universe.

“At first we thought it could be a pulsar – a very dense, rotating type of dead star – or also a type of star that emits huge solar flares,” Wang said.

The international team, of which Wang is a part, includes scientists from Australia, Spain, Germany, the United States, Canada, South Africa and France, discovered the object using the radio telescope called the Australian Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), located in eastern Australia. .

JU (efe, sciencealert.com, sydney.edu.au, iopscience.iop.org)

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