Radio signal from space is repeated every hour, with no explanation

An anonymous reader quoted a report from New Atlas: The universe is full of strange radio signals, but astronomers haven’t detected them yet. A very strange thing was discovered which repeats every hourThe signal goes through three distinct states. Although they have some ideas about its origin, it cannot be explained by our current understanding of physics. The signal first appeared in data collected by the ASKAP radio telescope in Australia, which monitors a large portion of the sky at once for transient pulses. Officially designated ASKAP J1935+2148, the signal appears to repeat every 53.8 minutes. Whatever it is, the signal goes through three distinct states. Sometimes it emits bright flashes lasting between 10 and 50 seconds and has a linear polarization, meaning all radio waves “point” in the same direction. Other times, its pulses are much weaker with a circular polarization, lasting only 370 milliseconds

So what could be behind such a strange radio signal? Let’s make this clear right away: it’s not aliens (probably). According to the scientists who discovered it, the most likely explanation is that it’s coming from a neutron star or a white dwarf. But that’s no easy solution, because the strange properties of the signal don’t fit with our understanding of the physics of those two types of objects. Neutron stars and white dwarfs are pretty similar, but there are some key differences. They’re both born from the death of massive stars, the original mass dictating whether you’ll end up with a neutron star or a white dwarf. Neutron stars are known to regularly blast out radio waves, so they’re a prime suspect here. It’s possible that such varied signals could arise from interactions between their strong magnetic fields and complex plasma flows. But there’s a big problem: they typically rotate at speeds of seconds or fractions of a second per rotation. It should be physically impossible for one to rotate so slowly, once every 54 minutes. White dwarfs, on the other hand, would have no problem spinning so slowly, but as the team says, “we know of no way they could generate the radio signals we see here.” “This may lead us to rethink our decades-old understanding of neutron stars, or white dwarfs; how they emit radio waves and what their population is like in our galaxy,” Caleb said.

The conclusion is that Published in the journal Nature Astronomy,


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