Space: Mystery radio waves are coming from the centre of the galaxy

An irregular radio source has been discovered in the direction of the galactic centre.

Illustration of radio waves coming from the galactic centre

Sebastian Zentilomo

Unusual radio alerts are coming from the path of the centre of the galaxy and we aren’t certain what’s emitting them. They activate and off seemingly at random, and their supply have to be not like anything we now have seen earlier than.

The supply of this radiation has been nicknamed “Andy’s object” after Ziteng Wang on the College of Sydney in Australia, who goes by the identify Andy and first found the radio waves. He and his colleagues noticed the emissions six occasions in 2020 utilizing the Australian Sq. Kilometre Array Pathfinder radio telescope. They made additional observations with the MeerKAT radio telescope in South Africa.

The researchers discovered that the article often flared for up to a couple weeks, however was darkish more often than not. When it lastly lit up once more in February this yr, a number of months after the preliminary detection, they pointed among the strongest non-radio telescopes we now have at it and noticed nothing. “We’ve checked out each different wavelength we are able to, all the way in which from the infrared to optical to X-rays, and we see nothing, so it doesn’t appear to be in step with any type of star that we perceive,” says David Kaplan on the College of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, who was a part of the analysis staff.

The truth that it wasn’t seen in every other wavelengths dominated out a number of potential explanations for this object, together with regular stars and magnetars, that are neutron stars with highly effective magnetic fields.

No matter Andy’s object is, the polarisation of the radio waves coming from it signifies that it in all probability has a robust magnetic discipline. Throughout flares, its brightness different by as much as an element of 100, and people flares light terribly rapidly – as quick as a single day – details that recommend the article is small.

However no astronomical physique we all know of matches all of these unusual traits. “It’s an attention-grabbing object that has confounded any try we now have to clarify it,” says Kaplan. “It might turn into a part of a identified class of objects, only a bizarre instance, however that’ll push the boundaries of how we expect these courses behave.”

Journal reference: The Astrophysical Journal, DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/ac2360

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