A strange object found in the Milky Way: Researchers

Researchers have found a strange spinning object in the Milky Way Galaxy. The Australian researchers say that the object is unlike anything astronomers have ever seen before. The team’s paper on the object has been published in the latest edition of the journal Nature.

The object, which releases a huge burst of radio energy three times every hour, was first spotted by a university student working on his undergraduate thesis.

According to Natasha Hurley-Walker, the astrophysicist who led the investigation after the student’s discovery, using a telescope in the Western Australian outback known as the Murchison Widefield Array, the pulse comes “every 18.18 minutes, like clockwork”.

Although there are other objects in the universe that switch on and off(such as pulsars), Hurley-Walker said that 18.18 minutes is a frequency that has never been observed before. She further added that finding that object was “kind of spooky for an astronomer because there’s nothing known in the sky that does that”.

The researchers say they have been able to establish a few facts, trawling back through years of data, that the object is about 4,000 light-years from Earth, is incredibly bright and has an extremely strong magnetic field.

Quoting to Hurley-Walker as said, report reads, “If you do all of the mathematics, you find that they shouldn’t have enough power to produce these kind of radio waves every 20 minutes”. “It just shouldn’t be possible” added Hurley-Walker.

As mentioned in reports, the object may be something researchers have theorised could exist but have never seen called an “ultra-long period magnetar“.

Hurley-Walker said that it could also be a white dwarf, a remnant of a collapsed star.
“But that’s quite unusual as well. We only know of one white dwarf pulsar, and nothing as great as this,” the researcher said.

Hurley-Walker also clarified that it could be something that we’s never even thought of — it could be some entirely new type of object.

When asked if the powerful, consistent radio signal from space could have been sent by some other life form, Hurley-Walker conceded, “I was concerned that it was aliens”.

Read: Clues of Mysteries about the Universe

It’s also said that the research team was able to observe the signal across a wide range of frequencies. “That means it must be a natural process, this is not an artificial signal”, said Hurley-Walker.

Hurley-Walker also informed that more detections would tell astronomers whether this was a rare one-off event or a vast new population they’d never noticed before.

But researchers say there are still many mysteries to untangle.

  • January 27, 2022
Universe & Existence