Strange signals have been observed in the cosmic neighborhood, the like of which astronomers have not yet seen
In Earth’s cosmic neighborhood, it emits some kind of signal that we have never seen before.
About 4,000 light-years away, some object emits radio waves. Every 18.18 minutes, for about 30-60 seconds, it pulsates brightly and is one of the brightest objects on low-frequency radio. His profile does not match any of the known astronomical objects and therefore astronomers are confused. The object was called GLEAM-X J162759.5-523504.3.
“During our observations, in just a few hours, this object appeared and disappeared, which was completely unexpected. To me, as an astronomer, it seems like a ghost because we know nothing in the sky to behave like that. “At the same time, it’s very close to us, about 4,000 light-years from our galactic backyard,” said Natasha Harley-Walker, an astrophysicist at Curtin University in Australia.
At the time, they thought it was most likely some kind of dead star: an ultramagnetic type of neutron star called a magnet, or, to a lesser extent, a highly magnetized white dwarf. If indeed it is the first of these, it will be the first case of fixing a magnet with a very long period of pulsation; It is also called an ultra-long-period magnet.
There are quite a few objects in space that pulsate regularly or not so regularly. Anything that changes brightness suddenly or dramatically is known as a transition and encompasses everything from supernovae and black holes in the process of star absorption to stellar ignition.
In the same category are pulsars – neutron stars that spin extremely fast and at the same time emit radiant cannons of radio waves from the poles, which look like a beacon from Earth. The period of rotation of the pulsars, respectively, is also their pulses, seconds or less, milliseconds.
However, in the case of GLEAM-X J162759.5-523504.3, astronomers could not see anything like this. He was spotted by the Murchison Widefield Array in Western Australia; It is a low frequency radio telescope consisting of thousands of dipole antennas located in the desert.
Using data collected by this telescope from January to March 2018, astronomers have discovered 71 pulses coming from the same point in the sky using a new method developed by Curtin University astronomer Tyrone O’Doherty.
After analyzing the signal, they determined its location and found that no matter what it represented, the object was smaller and brighter than the sun. It was also found that the radiation is highly polarized, Ani is twisted, indicating that its source has an unusually strong magnetic field.
It even makes us think he is a magnet. As we have already mentioned, the magnet is one of the types of neutron stars, which is already a thrilling fact – the collapsed, dead nucleus of a once massive star that is about 2.3 times more massive than our Sun and compressed into an ultra-dense sphere up to 20 km wide.
In order to get a magnet, we have to add an incredibly powerful magnetic field to all of this. These magnetic structures are usually about 1000 times more powerful than a neutron star, quadrillion times more powerful than Earth. We do not know exactly how they originate, but as recent studies indicate, they may have originated from pulsars.
Ultraviolet magnets may also have been developed forms that slowed their rotation over time, but it was thought that their actual detection was impossible.
It’s really weird, because it’s so magnetic is considered to be the source of mysterious, dazzling radio signals called fast radio signals; However, as it turned out, the location of many fast radio signals is incompatible for a young magnet. Ultra-long-term magnetists would solve this problem well.
This leads to the GLEAM-X J162759.5-523504.3, which has a small size, polarized signal and incredibly bright radiation.
“Nobody expected to see something like this live, because we did not think they would be so bright. “Somehow it manages to convert magnetic energy into radio waves much more efficiently than anything we’ve ever seen before.”
It is possible that this object may be a white dwarf, but as the researchers note, its profile is best matched by an ultra-period magnet.
It should also be noted that the telescope MWA has been operating for eight years, but the activity of the object GLEAM-X J162759.5-523504.3 in its data is recorded only in 2018, for a period of two months. There are many potential reasons for this, including the fact that our current technologies simply do not detect its activity, or are characterized by unusual inflammations. Both of these reasons can explain why we have not seen such a thing before.
Researchers continue to observe this region of the sky so as not to be distracted if this object emits signals again. According to them, it may be useful to study other radio waves as well. Meanwhile, they continue to search for other such objects. The question is too many.
“If we see more of this signal, we know we’re dealing with a rare event or a whole new population that we just haven’t noticed before,” said Natasha Harley-Walker, an astrophysicist at Curtin University in Australia.