Astronomers have detected a strange beam of radio signals that appear to be emitting in a pattern similar to a heartbeat. Classified as a fast radio burst (FRB), the signal originated in a galaxy billions of light-years from Earth.
FRB like that is very intense radio waves Explosions last a few milliseconds at most. However, astronomers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) observed a signal up to 3 seconds long, making it 1,000 times longer than a conventional FRB.
What’s more intriguing about this finding is that the model of Radio signal. The researchers note that the explosion follows the cycle of a heartbeat that repeats every 0.2 seconds. Labeled as FRB 20191221A, researchers were unable to locate the source of the signal, but it is suspected that the explosion was caused by a radio pulse or a magnetic field, both of which neutron star.
“There isn’t much in The universe emit strictly periodic signals. Examples that we know about our own Galaxy are radio pulsars and magnets, which rotate and produce an emission beam similar to a lighthouse. And we think this new signal could be a magnet or pulsar on steroids,” speak Daniele Michilli, a postdoctoral scholar at MIT’s Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research.
When the team analyzed the signal pattern, they discovered similarities with the emission from our galaxy’s magneto and radio pulsars. While radio pulses emit beams of radio waves that pulsate as the neutron star rotates, magnetar stars produce similar emissions due to their polar magnetic fields.
After discovering, report In Nature, astronomers now hope to detect more signals from the source. They also hope to explore the possibility of using this source as an astrophysical clock. In addition, data from the source, such as the frequency of explosions and how they change as the source moves away from The earth could also help measure the rate at which the universe is expanding.