Astronomers discover “eerie” objects in space that convert magnetic energy into radio waves


A team of astronomers mapping radio waves in space has discovered something “a kind of creepy” spinning in space. It converts magnetic energy into radio waves much more effectively than we have ever seen.

In a press release on Wednesday, researchers at the Center for International Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) said that strange objects are 4,000 light-years away from Earth and emit huge bursts of energy three times an hour.

This object, called GLEAM-X J162759.5-523504.3, is much brighter and smaller than the Sun and emits highly polarized radio waves. This indicates that it has a very strong magnetic field.

“A strange object spinning in space sends out a beam of radiation across our line of sight, one minute every 20 minutes, one of the brightest sources in the sky,” the researchers said. ..

Astronomers believe that new discoveries could be neutron stars (the collapsed cores of giant supergiants that have run out of fuel) or white dwarfs (the stars that burned all the hydrogen previously used as nuclear fuel). increase. Very strong magnetic field.

It was first discovered by Curtin University Honor Student Tyrone O’Doherty using the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA), a low-frequency radio telescope in Western Australia.

Odhati used a new technology he developed to uncover discoveries.

“It’s exciting to find that the source I identified last year was such a unique object,” O’Doherty said. “MWA’s wide field of view and extremely high sensitivity make it ideal for exploring the entire sky and detecting unexpected things.”

“This object appeared and disappeared within a few hours during our observations,” said astrophysicist Natasha Harley Walker, who led the team that made the discovery.

“It was totally unexpected. It was a bit creepy for astronomers because the sky didn’t know anything to do it,” said Harley Walker, who said the object was “in the backyard of the galaxy.” I added.

Objects that “on / off” in the universe are relatively common and are referred to by scientists as “transients.”

“Slow transients” such as supernovae appear within a few days and may disappear after a few months, while “fast transients” such as pulsar neutron stars “blink” multiple times within milliseconds.

However, transients between these two velocities are extremely rare.

ICRAR-Cartin astrophysicist and co-author Gemma Anderson said, “When studying transients, you see the death of a giant star or the activity of the debris it leaves,” but on for a minute. Finding the transient phenomenon that became “really strange.”

According to Harley Walker, researchers believe the object may be what is called a “super-long-period magnetar.”

“This is a type of slowly rotating neutron star that is predicted to exist theoretically,” she said. “But we didn’t expect them to be that bright, so no one expected to detect something like this directly. Somehow, much more than we’ve seen so far. Effectively converts magnetic energy into radio waves. “

Astronomers monitor newly discovered objects to see if they switch “on” again, and use scientific telescopes throughout the Southern Hemisphere and telescopes in orbit to examine them.

Meanwhile, researchers continue to search for more unusual objects in the Murchison Widefield Array Telescope archive.

“With more detections, astronomers can tell if this is a rare one-off event or a huge number of new populations that were previously unnoticed,” Hurley-Walker said.

Catabella Roberts

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Katabella Roberts is a reporter currently based in Turkey. She focuses primarily on the United States and covers the news and business of The Epoch Times.

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