Another new signal captured from deep in the cosmos.

in Popular STEMlast month

Another new signal captured from deep in the cosmos.

The universe is full of strange radio signals, but now astronomers have detected a truly bizarre signal that repeats every hour and goes through three different states and what is most impressive is that this phenomenon still cannot be explained by our current understanding of physics.

This Mysterious signal first appeared in data collected by the ASKAP radio telescope in Australia which scans a vast swath of the sky for transient pulses. The signal was officially designated ASKAP 1935+2148 and appears to repeat every 53 minutes, but what else Intriguing are its three distinct states, sometimes it emits bright flashes that last between 10 and 50 seconds with linear polarization, other times its pulses are much weaker with circular polarization and last only 370 milliseconds and at some times the signal simply disappears and remains in total silence.

The MeerKAT radio telescope in South Africa was crucial in distinguishing these states, if the signals did not suggest the same point in the sky no one would believe that it was the same object producing these different signals, and what could be behind such a strange radio signal, we will. to clarify this immediately; They are probably not extraterrestrials, the most likely explanation according to scientists is that the signal comes from a neutron star or a white dwarf, but even so it is not a clear solution, since the strange properties of the signal do not fit our understanding. current of these objects.


Neutron stars and white dwarfs are born from the deaths of larger stars. Neutron stars are known to emit radio waves regularly but they generally spin at very fast speeds making it physically impossible for them to spin as slowly as once every 53 minutes. minutes.

White dwarfs could spin so slowly but we don't know any way for them to produce the radio signals we are seeing here. This is not the first repeated radio signal that has perplexed scientists; there was another one found a few years ago on an 18-minute cycle. , which should also be impossible.

This new signal is not only longer, but also more complex, which only deepens the mystery, whether the signal comes from an unusual neutron star from a White Dwarf pulsar or from something completely different we will only be able to answer with more observations, depending on What we discover might even lead us to reconsider our decades-old understanding of what white neutron stars sound like and how they emit radio waves.

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